Changes to the GOJHL

Hello hockey fans!  I hope you have all had a good summer.  Mine has been very busy with work and trying to get some Rocket stuff done, but, a new season is upon us.  All the teams have started their training camps and building their teams for this season.


This article is about some of the changes coming to the GOJHL this season.  First though, I’m going to introduce myself to any GOJHL newbies out there.


My name is Stacy Brooks, I’m also known as RocketGirl, and I sometimes refer to myself as the Queen of the GOJHL.  I have been around the league for a very long time, my family started with the Strathroy Rockets of the Western Conference in 1994 and this is our 23rd season.  My dad Joe is the equipment manager and my brother Mike is the head trainer. 


This is my fourth season writing blog articles about the league.  I started out about just the West.  I mostly follow the Rockets during the season, but I do catch games all over.  I started writing about the Midwest in mid-January 2015.  This year I plan to include the Golden Horseshoe in my articles, I know you’ve been feeling left out.  I’ve also written two articles for the OHA for their Blueline Magazine. 


So that’s a brief overview of me, now to some changes coming to the league.


First, Buffalo is back.  Yes, there is a GOJHL team in Buffalo, New York.  They are part of the Golden Horseshoe Conference.  Unfortunately, the Regals have had to take a two year hiatus, but they are back now.  In the 2014-15 season, they abruptly had to withdraw for not being able to ice a team.  They did some recruiting and were preparing to re-enter last season, and then it was determined that they failed to file re-entry paperwork with USA Hockey and they had to withdraw from the 2015-16 season.


Nonetheless, the Regals are back and ready to go!  This is a press release from their website.


The Buffalo Regals are excited to be returning to the GOJHL for the 2016-17 hockey season after a two year hiatus from the league.  The Buffalo Regals Junior Hockey team is committed to providing players opportunities to advance to higher levels of play.  Players will be challenged both on and off ice, through a highly competitive schedule within the Golden Horseshoe Conference of the GOJHL, intense on ice skill development and a regimented off ice training program and classroom sessions.


As part of the rebuilding process the Regals will look to Kevin Quick to coach the team and help get the program off of the ground.  Coach Quick is a staple in the Western New York hockey community, he has coached many players to higher levels of hockey including Division I & III NCAA Hockey as well as several professional leagues including the NHL.  With over 40 years of coaching experience Coach Quick has made significant contacts throughout the hockey world and understands the importance of moving players to the next level of play.


The team has been working hard to find players and put together a competitive roster while understanding the challenges associated with a two year absence from the league.  Unlike many teams with returning players the Regals have an entire roster to fill, they continue to look at players and hope to finalize the roster in the coming weeks.  Any interested players should feel free to contact General Manager Mike Answeeney at (716) 864-9568 or click here to complete the recruitment questionnaire.


The organization is looking forward to an exciting and competitive 2016-17 season. 


The next thing you need to know about is the new rule regarding 20 year olds.  In March, the league voted to put a cap on how many 20 year olds a team can sign, which is 9.  As a 20 year old, if you were on a CHL card, being OHL, WHL or QMJHL, as of January 11, then you will take 2 of those 9 cards, unless you had played in the GOJHL previously.  In talking to some people, some think that it’s all 20 year olds that have never played in the GOJHL before.  This new rule only applies to 20 year olds who were on CHL cards as of January 11. 


Examples.  I’m going to use Jeff King from the Sarnia Sting and Chad Heffernan from the London Knights.  King played for the Sarnia Legionnaires in the 2012-13 season as a 16 year old, so if he comes back to the GOJHL, he will only take 1 card.  Heffernan has never played in the GOJHL, so he would be 2 cards.


Now, this is my understanding of the rule.  If I happen to be wrong, please let me know.


The next rule that nobody has really talked about is the import rule.  Last season it was expanded to include the Conferences.  Rather than go through it, the article I wrote last year about the import rule change can be found here, but basically, they opened up the import areas to be Conference wide.


This year, the import rule is league wide meaning the boundaries are now the entire GOJHL footprint.  Let’s say there’s a player from St. Thomas who will be attending Laurier University in Waterloo and playing for Kitchener.  Last year, he would have been an import to Kitchener, but now they’re not.  As pointed out in the previous import article, the main purpose is to help some of the struggling teams to be able to obtain and retain ‘quality players’.


The other change I’m going to mention is Stratford.  After being sponsored by Culliton Brothers for 30+ years, they have decided to scale back their sponsorship and spread it out more.  Out of respect for the Culliton family, Stratford has changed their name back to the Warriors.  Prior to 1975, they were known as the Warriors, so they’ve just gone back to their roots.


I think that’s it for changes, at least that’s all I know of and can think of at this point.  If you know of anything, let me know.  As always, feel free to email me, .  You can also find me on and .


I will see you all again in a couple weeks for my season preview before the Showcase.