Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League pushing OHA for Junior A status
The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) is calling on the Ontario Hockey Association to re-classify its league.
The GOJHL is currently a Junior B league, but they say having Junior A status would provide better opportunities for players.
The Elmira Sugar Kings are part of the GOJHL, but the team's head coach Rob Collins says the team and the league aren't getting the recognition they deserve.
"I think they have been some of the most successful in the last two-and-a-half decades, so I would say quite strong," Collins said about the team.
He said players in Junior B leagues face many challenges, including fewer post-secondary scholarship opportunities.
"A lot of people put value in the A, in the title of Junior A versus Junior B and assume it's a higher level," Collins said. "Junior A leagues definitely get more recognition from the scouts."
The majority of Junior A teams are located in the Greater Toronto Area. Collins says many GOJHL players uproot their lives to play a higher level of hockey.
"It drives some of these young men away from home when they don't need to," he said.
Jamie Nigro, president of the Stratford Warriors, agrees a change needs to be made.
"I would say we're competing at a Junior A level," Nigro said. "It goes back quite a few years, but we've been pushing this year a lot to get reclassified."
The GOJHL has ramped up its efforts for the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) to reclassify the league, with an online petition that's garnered more than 3,000.
"We're the only Junior B league left, so I think it makes sense that we're all Junior A level," Nigro said.
The OHA said it has no comment at this time.