The Provincial Junior "A" Hockey League got its beginnings in the early seventies as the Central Junior "B" Hockey League. Since then the League's single constant element is it's every changing make up. Team's change owners and names on a regular basis but the caliber of hockey remains at a consistently high level.
The one overriding constant is the fact that the League continues to be a major leader in supplying players to the NCAA, Canadian Colleges and Universities,the OHL and the Professional Leagues including the AHL, IHL, ECHL and the NHL. "Itsa great grooming ground and serves the purpose of developing players", oneof our more experienced General Managers was quoted in a recent article thisseason.
Our current Grads section on our Web Site (www.ohahockey.org) lists over 180 grads who've gone on to professional hockey careers. A few of the current crop are Stephen Weiss of the Florida Panthers, Anson Carter of the Washington Capitals and John Madden of the New Jersey Devils.
The Wexford Raiders, one of the original franchises in the league, lays claim to over 150 players who've gone on to either Canadian or American College and University teams or the OHL/NHL. Their alternate web site available through our League site gives a complete list of their Alumni.
This season started out with 35 teams in 4 divisions, 10 each in the East & West divisions, 6 in the North and 9 in the South. However with the November withdrawal of the Huntsville Wildcats, our North Division numbers fell to 5 active teams. The League is very pleased to announce that their request for a "Franchise change of ownership" to a group headed up by Sherry Bassin & Ray Irwin ( both from OHL Erie Otters) & former NHLer Tom McCarthy (Minnesota & Boston), has been approved this past month so we can look forward to a revitalized entry in our North Division for the 2004/2005 season.
The teams are spread across the provincial from Kingston in the East up through Bancroft over to Huntsville and Collingwood in the North and down to Hamilton in the West. Just for good measure we also have two American teams, the Buffalo Lightning and the Syracuse Stars as part of the League. Names and owners change as teams come and go but the caliber of hockey remains high enough to attract numerous scouts to our annual College Weekend in September, as well as the Newmarket Tournament at Christmas and our Future Stars games and All Star game held each January.
Standings, Game results, team stats and other significant information about the League is readily available on our web site (www.ohahockey.org). We also keep our local fans updated via the Star Phone lines accessible 24 hours a day (416-350-3000 - Category #2093 for daily results and category #2092 for scheduled games).
Playoffs start in early February once the regular season is completed on . The League will have five separate playoff rounds spread over 14 weeks to determine our Division Champs, Conference Champs and Provincial Junior "A" Champion by April 18th. The team will go on to be our representative at the Dudley Hewitt Cup to be played . The winner to advance to the Royal Bank Cup in Grande Prairie in May 2004. Our last year's Champion, the Wellington Dukes, did the League proud by advancing to the RBC semifinals losing out to the eventual champions.