The Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) Annual General Meeting wrapped up this past weekend with Inter-Conference play highlighting the agenda, along with the announcement of a new 1st Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors.
The main discussion point this weekend was the previously often-discussed idea of Inter-Conference play. After many years of debate, the concept was approved by the OJHL Board of Governors and will be instituted beginning with the 2013-14 regular season.
The new regular season schedule will see each member club play 53 games that includes:
26 home game, 26 road games & one Governors' Showcase match-up
home & home series against other Conference
home & home series against other Division within Conference
remaining schedule against teams within Division
Other initiatives that were approved at the AGM include a new criteria being established for the annual Rookie-of-the-Year Award. To be eligible for the award, recipients must now be 18 years of age or younger as of December 1 of season. This new criteria aligns with the newly developed CJHL Rookie of the Year Award that was introduced this past season.
Also approved was a pilot project to be tested during the 2013-14 pre-season that will see the OJHL eliminate the use of a shootout following the four-on-four, five minute, sudden death overtime. Instead, following the initial overtime period, the teams will play another five minute three-on-three overtime session. Upon completion of the pre-season, further discussions will be held regarding the direction of the initiative and potential use in future seasons.
OJHL Commissioner Marty Savoy commented on the positive steps the Governors took in moving the league forward, “I applaud the Board of Governors for the foresight that they showed this weekend in continuing to move the "League of Choice" forward, while also being a leader in testing new rules aimed at improving the quality of the on-ice product.”
Further to the new initiatives and with the recent resignation of Cobourg Cougars’ Governor Marc Mercier from the Board of Directors and his role as First Vice-Chair, the Board of Governors approved the selection of Mississauga Chargers’ Governor Lloyd Stockley to replace Mercier in both positions.
“On behalf of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, I would like to thank Marc Mercier for his service and dedication to the Board of Directors,” said OJHL Chairman Scott McCrory. “We would also like to welcome Lloyd Stockley to his new role on the BOD and look forward to continuing to grow our great brand with his contributions.”
Following the AGM, the OJHL Foundation hosted its second annual Golf Classic at the Royal Ashburn Golf Club, just north of Whitby, Ontario on Sunday. Numerous alumni attended the extremely successful event and had the opportunity to network with both OJHL players, past and present, as well as team personnel with more than 100 participants taking part. The OJHL Foundation was developed in 2012 to provide scholarship assistance to graduating OJHL players and to fund various research projects for the benefit of players in the OJHL.
The 2013-14 OJHL season looks to build on last season as one of the most exciting in league history. Look for a number of new initiatives to be announced over the course of the summer that are another step toward helping make the Ontario Junior Hockey League, the “League of Choice!”
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)