They will converge in Sault Ste. Marie for parts of three days beginning on Thursday.
The Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League will hold its Annual General Meeting in the Soo and items on the agenda for governors to peruse include the 2015-2016 budget that proposes a raise in pay for commissioner Robert Mazzuca.
Mazzuca has completed his fourth season as NOJHL commissioner and has overseen the league’s growth to 12 teams. And he is looking for a significant raise in pay, I am told.
At any rate, even those who are not in Mazzuca’s corner — and there a few among the respective team governors — are quick to concede that the NOJHL has become a more efficient, better-run operation under his command.
Now about that word “command.”
There are those who say that Mazzuca often acts as though NOJHL owners work for him instead of the other way around.
Those same detractors claim that Mazzuca is a micro-manager and a control freak who has to have absolute final say on the smallest of matters.
On the flip side, Mazzuca carries a reputation as a shrewd commissioner who always has a “Plan B’ in place — and is always thinking ahead.
Personally, I have considerable respect for what Mazzuca has done — and what he aspires to do — as NOJHL commissioner.
We have had our differences — major differences — in the four years of his reign as commissioner.
In fact, we went a year without speaking to one another and only recently put aside our differences that began when the since-disbanded Canadian International Hockey League announced its start-up plans about a year ago.
To be sure, Mazzuca and I said things about one another that contained enough curse words to paint a white room blue.
But when all was said and done, Mazzuca and I buried the hatchet instead of aiming it between one another’s shoulder blades.
These days, Mazzuca and I talk frequently — and not just about hockey.
But since hockey — specifically the NOJHL — is the topic here, let me say that I hope Mazzuca stays on as commissioner.
It is not for me to say whether he should get a raise from his base salary of $30,000 a year.
It is not for me to tell the owners how and where to spend their money — especially considering that this is a league built on small-market teams that aren’t exactly flush with funds.
But I will say that I hope Mazzuca and the NOJHL owners can come to an agreement that keeps the commissioner in office, even if it means eliminating some of the other paid positions that the league managed to do without — and still survive — for so many years.
Whether Mazzuca stays or goes just might depend on give and take — from both sides.