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Junior B Players In The NHL

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12-01-2012, 02:30 PM
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Shootmaster_44
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Junior B Players In The NHL

I was thinking about something and was curious how many players who have played Junior B have played in the NHL?

I know Wayne Gretzky played Junior B with the Toronto Nationals as a 14 year old. Though when he played Junior B, it was shortly after the 1970 move by the CAHA to split Junior A into "Major Junior A" (OHA/WCHL/QMJHL) and "Tier II Junior A" (along the lines of the SJHL/AJHL etc.). So I would assume the play then was higher than Junior B now. I'm also assuming that most player before the 1970 Junior A split, played Junior B as Junior B was the non-Memorial Cup teams. So I would say anybody playing Junior B prior to the 1970 Junior A split really doesn't count as that would mean anyone playing in the equivalent of the CJHL leagues today would be counted.

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12-01-2012, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Shootmaster_44 View Post
I was thinking about something and was curious how many players who have played Junior B have played in the NHL?
Probably more than you think. Here are just some who played after 1970 for at least part of one season.

Ed Kea played Jr 'C'

Jr 'B'
Adam Graves

Adam Oates

Larry Patey

Paul Cavallini

Greg Gilbert

Craig Muni

Dave Poulin

Pat Flatley

Scott Mellanby

Curtis Joesph

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12-01-2012, 03:10 PM
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Some others who played Jr 'B' in the MTJBHL

Doug Gilmour
Gord Dineen
Tony Tanti
Ron Handy
Bob Errey
Dale Hawerchuk
Basil McRae
Larry Murphy
Steve Konroyd
Charlie Huddy
Ed Hospodar
Tom Laidlaw
Kirk Muller
Kevin Dineen
Gino Cavallini

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12-01-2012, 04:24 PM
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tarheelhockey
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I'm curious why some of these were down in junior B. Were they physically late bloomers?

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12-01-2012, 04:44 PM
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12-01-2012, 05:14 PM
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Rogatien Vachon, subject of the great Punch Imlach quote on the Habs. Something to the effect of "They'll never win with a junior B goaltender in nets."

It was the spring of 1967. He was right. Rogie did OK for himself overall though.

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12-01-2012, 09:13 PM
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12-01-2012, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I'm curious why some of these were down in junior B. Were they physically late bloomers?
... 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.


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12-02-2012, 10:52 AM
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Population

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... 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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12-02-2012, 11:43 AM
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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.
Ya, that really was and is the fundamental and underlying raison d'tetre behind many of the Jr.B & C leagues existences in their many coloured suits over the years. Much more rural than suburban. Small towns. Places like Midland, Penetang, Collingwood, Leamington & so on in Southern Ontario with entries in regional circuits. In the larger markets, re-branded as "Jr.A", be it the old Metro Toronto league, the creation of the Provincial Junior A leagues and so on. A certain "pretension" if you will, eliminating the 'B' designation as it's connotations suggest second best, and ya, you did have & still do have innumerable highly talented players who for varying reasons prefer to play in those leagues rather than moving up to Major Junior. Be it home, schooling, a decision made perhaps to play NCAA or whatever.

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12-02-2012, 12:57 PM
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There have been quite a few NHL'ers who previously had played Jr. B.

Mike Lalor, Randy Burridge, Stan Drulia, and Tom Reid all played for the Fort Erie Meteors..

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12-02-2012, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I'm curious why some of these were down in junior B. Were they physically late bloomers?
Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Brian Campbell among others are all guys who played Jr. B as 15 year olds. So they were too young to play major junior and in Southwestern Ontario there is no Jr. A, so Jr. B is practically Jr. A around here. So a lot of the times it's just there aren't local Jr. A options. I assume almost everybody in this thread went onto play major junior or NCAA and were only playing Jr. B in their younger days.

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12-02-2012, 02:07 PM
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Vincent Riendeau, goaltender for the Blues and the Red Wings among others, played a full year of Junior C hockey (Called Junior A in Quebec). He was a late bloomer.

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12-04-2012, 10:13 PM
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Phil Esposito,Dino Ciccarelli,Tony McKegney,Bill Lockhead & Pat Stapleton all played Junior "B" in Sarnia.

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12-07-2012, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by justsomeguy View Post
Rogatien Vachon, subject of the great Punch Imlach quote on the Habs. Something to the effect of "They'll never win with a junior B goaltender in nets."

It was the spring of 1967. He was right. Rogie did OK for himself overall though.
After game 1 (6-2, Habs), Roggie said, "I think Imlach will now call me, Junior A!"

Right again, Punch!

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12-08-2012, 07:21 PM
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This is interesting. I guess since I grew up in Saskatchewan, where Junior B is an after thought for most players, I look at Junior B as the equivalent of making the NHL from Brazil. At least out West it seems most 15 year olds play Midget AAA as it is higher caliber (though debateable I guess) than Junior B. Junior C is a new thing in Saskatchewan and is essentially an extension of the minor hockey zones. It would be astonishing for a NHLer coming out of that.

Now why did many of the Ontario players play Junior B instead of Midget AAA (or whatever the equivalent is that sends teams to the Telus Cup)? Is Junior more formalized in Ontario? What I mean is does an OHL club have a Junior A affiliate, which has a Junior B affiliate etc.? It seems the WHL clubs do not and their draft picks play whereever they would have normally (I.e. the Saskatoon Blades wouldn't send their 15 year olds to the Saskatoon Contacts, the kid plays in BC if he's from there etc.)


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12-08-2012, 08:44 PM
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This is interesting. Now why did many of the Ontario players play Junior B instead of Midget AAA (or whatever the equivalent is that sends teams to the Telus Cup)? Is Junior more formalized in Ontario? What I mean is does an OHL club have a Junior A affiliate, which has a Junior B affiliate etc.? It seems the WHL clubs do not and their draft picks play whereever they would have normally (I.e. the Saskatoon Blades wouldn't send their 15 year olds to the Saskatoon Contacts, the kid plays in BC if he's from there etc.)
Well, I grew up in Ontario in the late 50's & 60's, really the tale end of the old NHL Sponsorship Era, almost all of the Jr.B Clubs in Southern Ontario affiliated with Jr.A teams (there was no Provincial Jr.A back then). Youd play Jr.B for a season, at 15 or 16, then move on up to Jr.A if you were good enough or be returned to play at the amateur levels, maybe kept around if you were useful as a role or depth player.

What is now AAA was single A, then you had B, and in some regions C designations from Tyke to Juvenile, all again associated with & feeders to the Jr.B & Jr.A clubs either directly or loosely. The Chicago Black Hawks for example had the Dixie Beehives Jr.B club stocked with their recruits, who would then go on to play for the St. Catherines Black Hawks Jr.A club; followed by hopefully Chicago itself. Toronto had the Markham Waxers, Weston Dukes & St.Mikes Jr.B clubs, the Marlies & until the early 60's a St.Mikes followed by Neil McNeil Jr.A team with Leafs prospects & so on & so forth.

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12-08-2012, 08:58 PM
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Provincial Differences

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Originally Posted by Shootmaster_44 View Post
This is interesting. I guess since I grew up in Saskatchewan, where Junior B is an after thought for most players, I look at Junior B as the equivalent of making the NHL from Brazil. At least out West it seems most 15 year olds play Midget AAA as it is higher caliber (though debateable I guess) than Junior B. Junior C is a new thing in Saskatchewan and is essentially an extension of the minor hockey zones. It would be astonishing for a NHLer coming out of that.

Now why did many of the Ontario players play Junior B instead of Midget AAA (or whatever the equivalent is that sends teams to the Telus Cup)? Is Junior more formalized in Ontario? What I mean is does an OHL club have a Junior A affiliate, which has a Junior B affiliate etc.? It seems the WHL clubs do not and their draft picks play whereever they would have normally (I.e. the Saskatoon Blades wouldn't send their 15 year olds to the Saskatoon Contacts, the kid plays in BC if he's from there etc.)
Junior C in Saskatchewan is an interesting concept - open zones, shorter schedule:

http://jrchockeyleague.com/?page_id=27

Midget AAA, a mid 1970s phenomena that bridged the transition from Bantam/Juvenile/Junior to Bantam/Midget/Junior?Major Junior, took a number of years to implement.

There were a number of issues - private school teams - Saskatchewan with Notre Dame, Quebec with high school ending at grade 11 = 17 year olds, not all provinces have the minor/major distinction for the categories, etc.

Junior B was an option to maintain NCAA eligibility.

Usually major junior teams in the Q have placement agreements with junior A teams as opposed to affiliate agreements or return certain Midget AAA eligible players to the midget teams as a 17 year olds.

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12-08-2012, 09:02 PM
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Affiliated?

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Well, I grew up in Ontario in the late 50's & 60's, really the tale end of the old NHL Sponsorship Era, almost all of the Jr.B Clubs in Southern Ontario affiliated with Jr.A teams (there was no Provincial Jr.A back then). Youd play Jr.B for a season, at 15 or 16, then move on up to Jr.A if you were good enough or be returned to play at the amateur levels, maybe kept around if you were useful as a role or depth player.

What is now AAA was single A, then you had B, and in some regions C designations from Tyke to Juvenile, all again associated with & feeders to the Jr.B & Jr.A clubs either directly or loosely. The Chicago Black Hawks for example had the Dixie Beehives Jr.B club stocked with their recruits, who would then go on to play for the St. Catherines Black Hawks Jr.A club; followed by hopefully Chicago itself. Toronto had the Markham Waxers, Weston Dukes & St.Mikes Jr.B clubs, the Marlies & until the early 60's a St.Mikes followed by Neil McNeil Jr.A team with Leafs prospects & so on & so forth.
Affiliated teams or vertical organizations that ran teams from intro to junior?

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12-09-2012, 01:39 AM
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Affiliated teams or vertical organizations that ran teams from intro to junior?
Both, though the vast majority not in the formal sense. Toronto & Southern Ontario was divvied up somewhat during the 06 era, with amateur organizations who played in the then THL followed by the MTHL (now the GTHL) along with the regional amateur leagues & their teams in Southwestern Ontario, Niagara Falls through Guelph & Kitchener Waterloo, the Northeastern sectors of Simcoe, Barrie & Aurora etc. Boston, the Rangers, Chicago, Detroit & of course the Leafs all had their fingers running deeply into various amateur organizations, the Leafs the most obvious with the Marlboro's, but all of them who were fielding 'A', later 'AA' through to todays designation of 'AAA' were indeed connected through affiliation with Junior B & or Junior A teams.

Indeed, several teams were put together by formerly amateur Coaches & Administrators who retained their ties to their amateur clubs & used them as grooming grounds from places like Aurora, North York & elsewhere upon the instigation of NHL interests as improving crops of players were being spawned and developed through organizations like the Goulding Park Rangers, Willowdale Boys Club, Don Mills Civitans which then became the Flyers and for a while as well the North Stars & so on. Which organization you played for and location/region a mitigating factor in who you were to play for at the A level, and who's property youd become at the Jr.B & Jr.A levels, as there too quite obviously you had serious formal affiliations.

Interestingly as well, a few completely independent teams at the Jr.B level stocked with outliers from all over the place, rejects from the established systems, guys who mightve had attitudinal problems or whatever. Quite an interesting mixture really, and the Coaches & Scouts were from what I can recall absolutely first class, superior in fact to Jr.A, as the challenges they faced were far tougher in many ways as you can well imagine. Really bright 15 & 16 year old prospects a notch or 5 above 'A' but not quite ready for Jr.A, some guys who at 16 or 17 couldnt make the step up, be it that extra 1/2 step of speed or whatever, others happier playing locally at the Jr.B level & so on. Tough to remain competitive & consistent with call-ups to Jr.A, turnover basically every year of about 60%+ of the team, and of course, you were expected to win. Very demanding.

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12-09-2012, 06:54 AM
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Boundaries

Killion,

Seems like the GTA and surrounding areas did away with the various boundary issues earlier than GMA area where in certain instances the boundary issues are still a factor.

Pros and cons to both approaches.

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12-09-2012, 12:26 PM
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Seems like the GTA and surrounding areas did away with the various boundary issues earlier than GMA area where in certain instances the boundary issues are still a factor... Pros and cons to both approaches.
Ya, there certainly are, and it created a lot of problems for players who were of 'A' calibre but who resided in areas absent a team playing at that level. I remember guys trying out in Bantam at the 'A' level, excellent hockey players who then signed, only to be rejected by the MTHL because they lived just outside of the borders of the city of Toronto in Richmond Hill or wherever; others who lived in Scarborough unable to sign with a team say in North Toronto or Etobicoke.

I would assume over the last 40yrs & since Amalgamation within the GTA the GTHL has loosened up its rules, and indeed, there was a story some time ago about some guy who owned 5+ AAA teams at various levels, ran it as a full time business, recruited players from all over the city, charging parents an arm & leg for equipment, ice time, extensive travel to tournaments with healthy markups... then the issues of Coaches & Scouts, GM's being "paid", be it per diems, travel expenses or whatever, most notably Rick Vaive who for awhile coached a Bantam AAA Team in the GTHL, receiving a fairly substantial chunk of change for doing so.

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12-09-2012, 03:46 PM
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Ya, there certainly are, and it created a lot of problems for players who were of 'A' calibre but who resided in areas absent a team playing at that level. I remember guys trying out in Bantam at the 'A' level, excellent hockey players who then signed, only to be rejected by the MTHL because they lived just outside of the borders of the city of Toronto in Richmond Hill or wherever; others who lived in Scarborough unable to sign with a team say in North Toronto or Etobicoke.

I would assume over the last 40yrs & since Amalgamation within the GTA the GTHL has loosened up its rules, and indeed, there was a story some time ago about some guy who owned 5+ AAA teams at various levels, ran it as a full time business, recruited players from all over the city, charging parents an arm & leg for equipment, ice time, extensive travel to tournaments with healthy markups... then the issues of Coaches & Scouts, GM's being "paid", be it per diems, travel expenses or whatever, most notably Rick Vaive who for awhile coached a Bantam AAA Team in the GTHL, receiving a fairly substantial chunk of change for doing so.
The GTA had private schools - St. Mike's etc involved in the GTHL/MTHL. Private schools were not required to respect boundaries when recruiting so allowances would have been made throughout the jurisdiction.

Likewise the coaches received benefits - reduced teaching load, tenure, later union and pension benefits.

Not clear about your 5 AAA team example. Were these in season teams under the Hockey Canada umbrella or off season indy operators?

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12-09-2012, 05:42 PM
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The GTA had private schools - St. Mike's etc involved in the GTHL/MTHL. Private schools were not required to respect boundaries when recruiting so allowances would have been made throughout the jurisdiction. Likewise the coaches received benefits - reduced teaching load, tenure, later union and pension benefits.

Not clear about your 5 AAA team example. Were these in season teams under the Hockey Canada umbrella or off season indy operators?
I dont ever remember St.Mikes having 'A' or even 'B' Teams playing in the THL or MTHL C58. They had the Buzzers (Jr.B) and Majors (Jr.A), while their school teams, Atom through Midget played in a separate all private school league against De La Salle, University of Toronto Schools, Upper Canada College and several others. Equivalent to AA or A by todays designations. Most of these kids also played in the THL/MTHL/GTHL, the North York Hockey League or wherever else as well, as the games they played were usually mid-afternoon on weekdays, very short schedule, in UCC's and a few other cases, outdoors on naturally flooded ice.

As for the AAA "for profit" operator, there was a big stink made about it a couple or three years ago, guys last name was Hyman. Just how he pulled it off Im not sure, but it was in-season & under the jurisdiction of the GTHL. He either co-opted an existing organization, taking it over entirely from Atom to Midget, then sold the sponsorships per team etc, or, he may have created an entirely new organization of his own within the boundaries of Toronto, then entered teams for play in the GTHL. I think it was the former though, that he was picking off well known & long established amateur teams at the AAA level. If you google search GTHL Hyman Controversy bound to get a bunch of hits. Interesting story from what I recall.

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12-09-2012, 06:34 PM
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I dont ever remember St.Mikes having 'A' or even 'B' Teams playing in the THL or MTHL C58. They had the Buzzers (Jr.B) and Majors (Jr.A), while their school teams, Atom through Midget played in a separate all private school league against De La Salle, University of Toronto Schools, Upper Canada College and several others. Equivalent to AA or A by todays designations. Most of these kids also played in the THL/MTHL/GTHL, the North York Hockey League or wherever else as well, as the games they played were usually mid-afternoon on weekdays, very short schedule, in UCC's and a few other cases, outdoors on naturally flooded ice.

As for the AAA "for profit" operator, there was a big stink made about it a couple or three years ago, guys last name was Hyman. Just how he pulled it off Im not sure, but it was in-season & under the jurisdiction of the GTHL. He either co-opted an existing organization, taking it over entirely from Atom to Midget, then sold the sponsorships per team etc, or, he may have created an entirely new organization of his own within the boundaries of Toronto, then entered teams for play in the GTHL. I think it was the former though, that he was picking off well known & long established amateur teams at the AAA level. If you google search GTHL Hyman Controversy bound to get a bunch of hits. Interesting story from what I recall.
Okay. Now I get the school niche in Toronto at that time. Similar to Montreal without the Jr A and B teams. The Montreal private schools played in the GMIAA which governed school sports. Similar shorter season with the players also playing in the various city leagues.

Read some of the Hyman articles. Does not look like the non-profit structure is the same in Ontario. The warning signs should have appeared much earlier.

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