The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL), which includes the Cambridge Redhawks, is seeking reclassified as a junior A league.
The junior B loop feels that the junior B classification "jeopardizes the on and off-ice success of its players," says a news release.
The league has sent a letter to the Ontario Hockey Association urging it to "approve its reclassification bid to level the playing field for junior hockey players across the province and enhance the overall quality and competitiveness of Junior A hockey."
“For years, the level of play in the GOJHL has been equal to, or better than that of other Junior A leagues in Ontario,” said GOJHL Commissioner Brent Garbutt in the news release. “We are simply asking the OHA to do the right thing and ensure that our league classification adequately reflects the talent and skill sets of our elite athletes.”
The junior B classification implies that the product on the ice is inferior, says the GOJHL, which means scouts are less likely to attend games.
"This impedes player development and results in fewer opportunities for players to move on to higher levels of play including the NCAA, U SPORTS and OHL."
“There should not be a geographical boundary on Junior A hockey, especially with the number of Hockey Canada participants in our footprint,” noted Garbutt. “The Ontario Hockey Federation regulations state that reclassification is up to the Member, the OHA, in this instance. If the OHA does the right thing and approves our reclassification bid, it will level the playing field for all players across Southwestern Ontario, keep them in Ontario and make junior hockey a more accessible sport for all.”
The GOJHL and its member teams have been "unsuccessful in their attempts" to meet with the OHA to review the issue.
The league is also circulating a petition in support of its reclassification bid.