The Ontario Junior Hockey League announced that the league is conducting an expansion program to identify and award up to two new franchise teams.
The program provides the opportunity for qualified new ownership groups to apply to the OJHL as a new expansion team to operate within the geographical boundaries of the Ontario Hockey Association. The program will include the opportunity for current Ontario Hockey Association member teams at the Junior “B” and Junior “C” categories to apply to be re-categorized at a the Junior “A” level for competition in the OJHL.
“With the impressive accomplishments and efforts of our two new franchises in Milton and Collingwood building their brands and fan base in those communities, the time is now for our league to take the next step to expand its ownership group and add two additional teams to our league to continue our vision plan for ‘excellence’ in Ontario hockey at the Junior A level,” said OJHL Commissioner Marty Savoy.
The OJHL has formed an Expansion Committee that will manage the expansion process, which includes members from the OJHL Board of Directors and a representative from each of the Ontario Hockey Federation and the Ontario Hockey Association.
“The league office receives inquires on a regular basis for expansion teams or from current OHA teams to join the OJHL and we feel the time is now to expand our league into new communities who will share in the success of our league,” Savoy said. “The OJHL is excited about the process of our expansion program and welcoming new partners at our Board of Governors table.”
Additionally, the league announced its return-to-play plan, including an extended training phase and then the implementation of a regular season, even if fans aren’t allowed in arenas.
“The full season will begin once approval has been provided by the Ontario Government and the league’s governing bodies,” the league said in a release. “The start of the OJHL 2020-2021 season will not be dependent on the allowance of fans at games and will commence once approval has been provided for full hockey.”