D-Day is approaching in both the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League. As in January 10 being the trade deadline in both the NOJHL and the OHL.
Unlike the OHL where trades involve either players or draft picks, the NOJHL is mostly about cash transactions, either with member teams or teams from across the Canadian Jr. Hockey League. And in the NOJHL, where some small market teams don’t have the financial resources of some of the bigger city teams, the selling of players is sometimes relative to owners and operators simply needing the money that trades bring in. To be sure, operating a junior A team in a league like the NOJHL is rather expensive. There are monthly league fees to pay, that among other expenses, cover salaries to the commissioner and staff. There are travel and bus costs. There are referees to pay. Let us not forget that junior A hockey is a business and not all of the teams in the NOJHL are on the same financial footing. Not even close.
This can be a tricky time of year for general managers in the 20-team OHL. Are they buyers or sellers? Do rebuilding teams risk a position in the standings — and a possible playoff spot — by trading off proven veteran players for younger ones and/or draft picks? Do contending teams mortgage the future for an impact player or two that can possibly put them over the top this season? OHL trades are not for the faint of heart. And the OHL is full of general managers who are not afraid to pull the trigger on a major trade.