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Old 12-25-2009, 11:51 AM
zeus zeus is offline
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Default New Junior Premier League

Although this is an IceDog Site, I thought it may be a topic of interest;

Following was copied from the Kitchener Record:

Waterloo Siskins ready to make the leap to ‘premier’ league



December 23, 2009

By Jeff Hicks, Record staff

The Waterloo Siskins want out.
After 75 years playing at the Junior B level, the storied franchise is poised to make the leap to a new Ontario Hockey Associaton “premier” league to start up next season.
“We definitely intend on level-jumping,” Siskins president Richard Burjoski said Tuesday.
The OHA has asked 36 provincial Jr. A clubs and 25 Jr. B operations to consider applying to the new “premier” circuit, which is targeted to begin with 16 teams in the fall of 2010.
The idea is to funnel the best Jr. A and Jr. B players into one league in a bid to make OHA junior hockey relevant again for players aged 16-20 bent on a hockey future.
The premier loop could grow as big as 24 teams after getting established.
Since Hockey Canada legislatively cut Jr. A and Jr. B teams out of its development model five years ago, the quality of the lesser junior levels has diminished to a point where OHL and U.S. college scouts have been scarce at OHA rinks they used to frequent.
The Siskins’ planned departure – and the potential departure of other local Jr. B clubs like the Stratford Cullitons, Elmira Sugar Kings and Cambridge Winter Hawks – could spell the end of local Jr. B hockey as we know it.
Burjoski feels the Siskins have no other option but to jump.
Junior B used to be the path to college or major junior greatness. It has become the path to pickup.
“The teams above us don’t consider us a developmental league,” said Burjoski, whose Siskins play out of the 3,500 capacity Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.
“We think the Waterloo Region can support a team in the league and we think we run the best operation and the best venue for it. So that’s the direction we’re going to go in.”
Each team applying to enter the premier league must pony up $25,000, which will go towards setting up the league.
If a team is turned down, the team gets $24,000 back with $1,000 kept as an OHA administration fee.
Teams must submit a budget plan to the application committee, which will consist of three OHA directors and two independent people.
Burjoski believes the Siskins will have to shed community ownership and seek private ownership to become financially viable as a “premier” league team.
“The community struggles to support a Jr. B team with a $150,000 budget,” said Burjoski, comparing the Siskins current Jr. B set-up to a potential “premier” operation. “They’re talking about teams with a $350,000 budget.”
With teams likely located across much of southern Ontario, a “premier” circuit would include much higher travel costs than the Siskins are used to in their eight-team Mid-Western Conference of the 25-club Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.
Burjoski suspects “premier” loop start-up would drain five clubs out of the GOHL through franchise defections and disappearances. The OHA is using the “premier” concept, discussed and developed after consulting with Jr. A and Jr. B operators, to whittle down the ridiculous number of such franchises.
It’s hoped the on-ice product will improve enough to again develop elite players, like Jr. A and Jr. B used to.
But how many Jr. A and Jr. B teams will fork over the $25,000 and take the “premier” loop bait before the application deadline of Feb. 1?
“That’s the $1-million question,” OHA president Brent Ladds said.
The plan also includes the amalgamation of the Jr. C and Jr. D levels.
Ladds said the Ontario Hockey League is not directly involved in the “premier” concept.
But the major junior circuit has been given an OHA presentation on the plan.
“They seem very interested in what we’re doing,” Ladds said. “Positively interested.”
Might the OHL eventually use this premier league as a place to hot-house younger players?
“We hope there eventually would be enough confidence that we could do what they call a “sharing” of players,” Ladds said.
Winter Hawks president Joe Machado, Sugar Kings president Jeff Seddon and GOJHL chairman Shawn McKelvie did not immediately respond to messages on Tuesday.
In other Hawks news, Ryan D’Arcy has been stripped of the head coaching job but continues on as Cambridge GM.
Paul Jennings is the interim head coach. Jim Kelly was appointed director of player personnel.
jhicks@therecord.com

Last edited by zeus; 12-25-2009 at 03:17 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-26-2009, 11:27 AM
three dog night three dog night is offline
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It sounds pretty expensive to join the leaugue unless it is used for an ohl develpoment leaugue i do not see it getting off the ground has for waterloo they are only averaging about 500 per game right now despite a very good team
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