The Ontario Hockey Association is the governing body for the majority of Junior and Senior level ice hockey teams in the Province of Ontario. The OHA is sanctioned by the Ontario Hockey Federation along with the Northern Ontario Hockey Association. Other Ontario sanctioning bodies along with the OHF include the Ottawa District Hockey Association and Hockey Northwestern Ontario. The OHA is composed of 4 major tiers of Junior hockey controlled by the OHA: Junior "A", Junior "B", Junior "C", and Junior Development. The OHA also controls one senior hockey league, Major League Hockey.
In 1980, the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League vacated what was known as Tier I Junior "A" hockey. The league is now known as the Ontario Hockey League. Although it is not a charter member of the OHA, the OHL is affiliated with the OHA and Ontario Hockey Federation.
The OHA was founded in 1890 to govern amateur ice hockey play in Ontario. This was the idea of Arthur Stanley, son of Lord Stanley, the Governor-General. Arthur played for the Ottawa 'Rideau Rebels' and in the course of exhibition play against other teams in Ontario, convinced team officials to hold a meeting in November 1890 to discuss the idea. So, on November 27, 1890 at the Queen's Hotel in Toronto, delegates from hockey clubs around Ontario formed the Ontario Hockey Association.
The first executive was:
- A. Morgan Cosby, Toronto Victoria Club, president,
- John Barron, vice-president,
- Henry Ward, vice-president,
- C. K. Temple, Toronto St. George's Club, treasurer,
- C. R. Hamilton, Toronto Victoria Club, secretary
In the beginning, the OHA had one league of senior men's hockey teams. This group included teams from Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, and London. In the first years, the schedule consisted of this group playing a series of elimination playoffs leading to a single-game final playoff. For the first three years the Ottawa Hockey Club was the champions, winners of the Cosby Cup. In 1894, the Ottawa team and the Association came to a disagreement over the venue of the finals, and Ottawa left the league. This was a schism that would lead to the forming of the Ottawa District Hockey Association, governing most of eastern Ontario ice hockey play.
From 1893-1908, teams from the OHA could and did challenge for the Stanley Cup, including:
- Osgoode Hall - 1893-94
- Ottawa Hockey Club (was in both AHAC and OHA)
- Queen's of Kingston - 1894-95, 1898-99
- Toronto Marlboros - 1903-04
- Toronto Wellingtons - 1900-01
As senior-level play became professional, Stanley Cup challenges would become impossible for amateur teams to win. After the introduction of the Allan Cup in 1908, clubs from the OHA would compete for that instead. The Ontario Professional Hockey League started play in 1908 for senior-level men's pro hockey teams in Ontario. Champions of the OPHL would continue to challenge for the Stanley Cup. The senior-level men's league of the OHA is today composed of the 6 teams of Major League Hockey.
In 1892, the junior-level was introduced for play at a lower level. It was not age-limited to young men under the age of 20 until 1896, when the OHA introduced the 'intermediate'-level play bracket. In 1919, the Memorial Cup was introduced, first called the 'OHA Memorial Cup', and was first won by University of Toronto Schools (UTS). It was to be the national championship trophy for junior-level play.
The top-level of junior men's ice hockey would be under the governance of the OHA until 1980, when the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) was formed as a separate organization under Hockey Canada. The OHL took over as the body eligible for Memorial Cup tournament play, and later became part of the Canadian Hockey League junior league.
The OHA continues to be the governing body for several ice hockey leagues in senior and junior within its jurisdictional borders.
In 1897, intermediate level was introduced. This was to organize teams of a lower standard than the seniors.
The first champions were Berlin, defeating the Frontenacs 3-0.
The classification was abolished in 1983 by the OHA. The top league, Major Intermediate A Hockey League was divided between the OHA Senior A Hockey League and the various Senior B leagues. Nowadays, the OHA's Rule Handbook refers to what used to be the Intermediate A level as Senior AA, Intermediate B as Senior A, Intermediate C as Senior B, and the Intermediate D loop as Senior C. The champions for each classification is listed in the OHA Rule Handbook except for Senior C, although its trophy name is listed.
The trophy emblematic of Canadian Intermediate Hockey supremacy was the Hardy Cup. Only three teams from Ontario ever won the Hardy Cup (that ran from 1968-1990), two from the OHA: Georgetown Raiders in 1982 and Dundas Real McCoys in 1986. The third Ontario team was the Embrun Panthers of the Ottawa District Hockey Association.
Further Historical InformationEdit
Empowered by Hockey Canada, the Ontario Hockey Association governs all Ontario senior and junior hockey not administered by Hockey Northwestern Ontario, Ottawa District Hockey Association, or Northern Ontario Hockey Association. This does not include the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League or Western Ontario Athletic Association (at the Senior level), which are run outside of Hockey Canada's jurisdiction and are not affiliated.
The Ottawa District represents the part of Ontario East of and including Lanark County, Renfrew County, and Leeds County, but not including the town of Gananoque. Hockey Northwestern Ontario has control of the section of Northwestern Ontario west of the 85th meridian.
Since the 2005-06 season, the OHA has sought a manner inwhich to rebrand and repopularize junior hockey throughout Ontario. Prior to the 2009-10 season, the OHA attempted to implement stage one of this endeavour. Their first attempt was to integrate the teams of the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League in the Western Ontario Junior C Hockey League, Great Lakes Junior C Hockey League, and the Niagara & District Junior C Hockey League. The SOJHL, a group of teams in the London, Ontario-area are all former Junior D teams who have sought identification as Junior C teams as a whole in the past. The teams of the SOJHL, although classified still as Junior D in the OHA, dropped their Junior D title a long time ago. In 2009, a vote was conducted by the General Managers of the SOJHL, WOJCHL, GLJHL, and NDJCHL on how the OHA would proceed with the amalgamation. In the end, no action was taken. A group of SOJHL teams and NDJCHL teams actively blocked the measure due to a cluster of teams from both leagues that would have heavily overlapping player drawing zones - which would result in a depletion in their talent pool.
During the 2009-10 season, the OHA announced that the second stage of the Tomorrow's game initiative would take place at the start of the 2010-11 season - the re-amalgamation of Junior A and Junior B and the promotion of the best of these teams to the new "Premier League". In 1993, the Metro Junior B Hockey League and Central Junior B Hockey League, the OHA's two Toronto-area Junior B leagues, were officially recognized by the OHA as Junior A Leagues. The three remaining leagues, the Mid-Western Junior Hockey League, Western Ontario Hockey League, and Golden Horseshoe Junior Hockey League, who had been more dominant than their Toronto-area sister leagues in the Sutherland Cup department, were left to their own devices. In 2007, the three Southwestern Ontario leagues opted to merge to form a 27-team superleague, the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League in hopes of eventually being promoted to Junior A and to attempt to prevent player poaching from the 37-team Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League. To this date, the debate still rages as to which league is ultimately better, the GOJHL or the OPJHL. In 2009, the OHA asked members of both the OPJHL and the GOJHL to submit applications to the "Premier League" with deposits of $25,000. A number of GOJHL teams applied for entry, but the entire core of Toronto-area Junior A leagues refused to apply for the Premier League. The Junior A teams eventually filed an appeal to the Ontario Hockey Federation in an attempt to stop the restructuring. The OHF upheld the appeal, but not resoundingly. The OHF found that the OHA was within its rights to rebrand Junior A, B, C, and D to Premier, Division I, and Division II, as long as they were clear that Premier is still Junior A under Hockey Canada's guidelines and that Division I and II are Junior B and C. The OHF also said that the OHA could recategorize its teams by authority of OHA By-law B46. The part of the appeal that was upheld was that OHA By-law C7 adds to By-law B46 in that classification changes must be approved by the league before they can be implemented. The OHF Appeal Board also added that if the OHA wished to, the OHA could remove By-law C7 from its Regulations & Constitution and then probably proceed with restructuring plans.
The Junior C level was reorganized for the 2016-17 season with the eight existing leagues under the OHA's jurisdiction being combined to form the Provincial Junior Hockey League. The leagues that formed the PJHL are the Central Ontario, Empire B, Georgian Mid-Ontario, Great Lakes, Midwestern, Niagara & District, Southern Ontario, and Western Ontario leagues. The new league would contiue to play for the Clarence Schmalz Cup; but now as one league instead of eight. The new league was set up with each former league making up a division of the league.
After the reorganization of the Junior C level, the OHA has four leagues playing under its jurisdiction.
Please note: the major junior level Ontario Hockey League is not a member of the Ontario Hockey Association, but does carry a working relationship with it.
- Big 10 Junior B Hockey League
- Border Cities Junior B Hockey League
- Central Ontario Junior C Hockey League
- Eastern Junior B Hockey League
- Empire B Junior C Hockey League
- Georgian Mid-Ontario Junior C Hockey League
- Golden Horseshoe Junior Hockey League
- Great Lakes Junior C Hockey League
- Metro Junior A Hockey League
- Mid-Ontario Junior B Hockey League
- Mid-Western Junior Hockey League
- Midwestern Junior C Hockey League
- Niagara & District Junior C Hockey League
- Northern Junior D Hockey League
- Ontario Junior Hockey League
- Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League (1972-1987)
- Quinte-St. Lawrence Junior C Hockey League
- Southern Counties Junior D Hockey League
- Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League
- Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League
- Southwestern Junior B Hockey League
- Suburban Junior C Hockey League
- Western Ontario Hockey League
- Western Ontario Junior C Hockey League
- OHA/OHF Senior "AAA" - J. Ross Robertson Cup
- MLH Senior "AAA" - W.A. Hewitt Cup
- EOSHL Senior "AAA" - Upper Canada Cup
- EOSHL Senior "AA" - J.F. Paxton Cup
- Major Junior - J. Ross Robertson Cup
- OPJHL - Frank L. Buckland Trophy
- Junior "B" - Sutherland Cup
- Junior "C" - Clarence Schmalz Cup
- SOJHL - OHA Cup
- Senior "B" - Ken McMillan Cup
- Senior "C" - W.A. Hewitt Cup
- SOJAHL - Jack Oakes Memorial Trophy
- Super "C" - George S. Dudley Cup
- Senior - Cosby Cup
- Young, Scott (1989). 100 years of dropping the puck. McClelland & Stewart Inc.. ISBN 0771090935.