Junior B Players In The NHL
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12-02-2012, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Originally Posted by
.. the designations (Jr.B, Jr.A, Tier II Jr. A & Provincial Jr.A) are actually pretty confusing to track, at least in Ontario where the vast majority of Jr.B leagues & clubs were/still are located.
You had teams opting in & out of various leagues, some Divisions folding altogether & so on up until the mid 80's when it stabilized somewhat. A real mish mash of business interests colliding with existing leagues, the OHA, teams changing hands from the old sponsorship days & whatnot.
Sure, some players were late bloomers, but back in the day unless exceptionally talented you went through an apprenticeship, playing Jr.B (or as detailed above the equivalent in the Metro Toronto Jr.A League for example and amongst others) at Minor Midget or Midget age followed by Major Junior at Senior Midget to Juvenile back before they lowered the Draft age in the NHL. It was a sort of grooming grounds for Major Junior to Pro, fairly high turnover year-year in terms of player personnel.
If a guy wasnt able to move up after a year, 2 at the most, likely cut. Some teams were also highly politicised, whereby the franchise was affiliated with an organization developing players from Atom through Tyke, Pee Wee, Minor Bantam, Minor Midget, Midget & in a few cases even, Juvenile. A certain sense of "entitlement" amongst the players & their parents, having all grown up together & playing with one another for years, invitee's to the teams camps from other organizations not always welcomed warmly, often released despite being superior players due to organizational pressures to retain so & so who grew up within it.
Teams like the Toronto Marlboro's & Nats, who had Jr.B teams (Markham with the Marlies for eg) generally aggressively recruited players early, and by early I mean like Atom, Pee Wee & Bantam, so to a large extent they were in fact already the best of the crop from any given birthyear regardless. But for outliers, gaining a foothold could be difficult. You had to be "exceptional" to displace one of the Silver Spooners who came up through the clubs amateur system, break whomevers lock on manifest destiny & grab that brass ring (or team jacket) for yourself. In the years preceding the Draft in 63 & indeed up until about 71 or so, if youd signed a C Form, even unwittingly as was often the case, youd wind up with say the Dixie Beehives Jr.B Club, a feeder to St.Catherines Blackawks, then if you were incredible, Chicago. Interesting system, league ('s) and a ton of fantastic players coming up through it.
In Quebec it is/was also a function of population and region. Remote regions would operate Junior B teams to compete at the provincial level. These teams would include some elite level midget players not willing to play far away from home before finishing high school.
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