June 14, 2016, Mississauga, Ontario – The Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) Annual General Meeting (AGM) wrapped up this past weekend with the OJHL Board of Governors voting to implement full facial protection beginning with the 2017-18 season.
With player safety at the forefront of the discussion, the OJHL becomes the first member league in the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) to make full facemasks mandatory for their players. Implementation of the new initiative will begin with the start of the 2017-18 season and is aimed at reducing facial injuries to virtually zero.
“Player safety at the junior level of the game of hockey is constantly being monitored and reviewed, and is a never-ending process,” said OJHL Commissioner Marty Savoy. “The Governors of the OJHL feel that their decision to move toward full facial protection is a decision that will improve the overall safety of our most important assets; the players of our league.”
“We have seen too many of our players suffer severe facial injuries wearing the half-shield,” added OJHL Chairman Scott McCrory. “We realize that moving toward full facial protection is a major change in philosophy, but it has been one that we have been discussing and studying for the past number of years. The OJHL is a development league that moves players on to the next level of our great game and I applaud our Governors for taking a leading role in player safety.”
Also named at the AGM was a new OJHL Board of Directors. Whitby Fury Governor Scott McCrory will serve another term as Chairman of the Board with Stuart Hyman of the Markham Royals serving once again as the 1st Vice-Chair and Rob DeVincentis of the Milton Icehawks appointed as the 2nd Vice-Chair. Ken Burrows of the Stouffville Spirit remains on the Board as the North-East Conference Director and newly-appointed is Bill Court of the Georgetown Raiders, who will serve as the South-West Conference Director.
The 2016-17 season looks to be one of the most exciting in recent memory for the OJHL with the Trenton Golden Hawks hosting the 2017 Dudley-Hewitt Cup, Central Canadian Junior ‘A’ Championship, and the Cobourg Cougars hosting the 2017 RBC Cup, National Junior ‘A’ Championship. The OJHL Board of Governors overwhelmingly agreed that both events should be fully supported on a league-wide basis by all member clubs to ensure their success.
Also this season, it was passed that the Buffalo Jr. Sabres will once again host the OJHL Governors’ Showcase at the HarborCenter from September 26-28, 2016. All OJHL member clubs will play two games at the showcase, providing yet another opportunity for scouts to view up-and-coming prospects in a single, central location.