Tuesday, August 4, 2009

OJHL Splits into two leagues

Press Release

July 26, 2009, Oakville, Ontario - The Ontario Hockey Association has granted permission for the OJHL's Ontario Conference and Central Conference to operate as individual bodies leading into the associations Tomorrow's Game. The Ontario Conference will be known as the Ontario Junior A Hockey League and consisting of the Aurora Tigers, Bramalea Blues, Brampton Capitals, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, Collingwood Blues, Couchiching Terriers, Georgetown Raiders, Huntsville Otters, Kingston Voyageurs, Milton Icehawks, Mississauga Chargers, Oakville Blades, Trenton, Vaughan Vipers, Villanova Knights.

"We are extremely please with the decision that OHA has made with the direction of Junior A hockey leading into their Tomorrow's Game plan", stated Ted Nishi of the Georgetown Raiders. "The Ontario Conference has been busy over the last several months planning and preparing each of our 15 teams to be ready for the Premiere Division within the OHA's Tomorrow's Game. We have developed a very detailed business plan with a number of key initiatives including committees to work on all aspect of the Premiere Division including the promotion of the league and the development all players and staff. An announcement will becoming out shortly on these initiatives and planning."

The OJAHL will continue to operate under all of the Hockey Canada guidelines with respect age restrictions and playing guidelines for Junior A Hockey in Canada. The OHA's Tomorrows Game plan, that was passed at the recent OHA AGM, will be the foundation of the newly formed Ontario Junior A Hockey League. All 15 teams will undergo a detailed audit over the next few months with the support and partnership of the OHA.

The OJAHL also announced the appointment of a new Commissioner, Marty Savoy was unanimously selected as the league's Commissioner.

Savoy, who was one of the key negotiators in finalizing the arrangements when the OJHL agreed to split into two separate conferences with different rules for each, has a wealth of experience in the hockey world. A graduate of the Oakville Rangers Minor Hockey system, played four years in the Ontario Hockey Association.

After graduating college, Savoy spent 10 years working for the Hockey Canada where he was responsible for the operations of the five Centres of Excellence across the country. During his time with Hockey Canada, Savoy served as an active member on numerous National and Provincial committees including, Hockey Canada's Coaching, Athlete Development, Hockey Development, COE Policy and Risk and Safety Management. In addition to his committee work Savoy was the Event Manager for a number of Ontario Provincial Championships. Savoy was part of the team staff for the 2002 Men's World Championship team, where he served as the team leader for Canada.

He left Hockey Canada in 2005 to work in the Marketing Department at Tim Horton's in Calgary, Alberta. From Tim Horton's he went on to a work for a mobile content distribution company as the Director of Marketing and Communications, where he is currently the Director of Business Development for North America.

"The OJAHL is pleased to have someone with Marty's vast knowledge of the both the hockey and business worlds working hand-in-hand with the 15 member clubs", stated Ted Magee of the Huntsville Otters. "All 15 teams in our league agree that Marty's leadership has already proven to be a tremendous asset to our member teams and we feel that through his continued leadership the OJAHL will continue to provide a great development environment for everyone involved with the league."

With four OJAHL teams have represented Ontario in five of the last six RBC Cups, Canada's National Junior A Championships the league will be sure to provide an entertaining product for the 2009-2010 season.

"My experiences with the Ontario Conference, and now the OJAHL, have shown me that all 15 teams are willing work together with the best interest of the evolution of Junior A hockey within OHA", said Savoy. "I am thrilled to be able to work with our teams to provide an exciting product for our fans in an environment that allows for the successful development of all our players and staff to become the best Junior A League in the world."

Savoy has been working closely over the past few months with the conference Executive Committee in developing detailed and measureable objectives for the conference to drive during the upcoming season in preparation for the OHA's Tomorrow's Game.

The OJAHL would like to thank Bob Hooper for his many hours of volunteer work as Commissioner of the OJHL over the past several years. The conference would also like to acknowledge the dedication and efforts of recently retired OJHL Executive Finn Poulstrup for his tireless work to build the OJHL. Both Bob and Finn will continue to offer his support and suggestions to Savoy and the OJAHL as the process moves forward.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at fourniern@students.nescom.edu)

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