The Ontario Minor Hockey Association will welcome nine new Associations for the 2023-24 season created through Amalgamations and Reorganizations.
By Amalgamating, two or more Associations in a close geographical area combine to form one new Association to deliver hockey programming. In addition to administrative and operational efficiency, Amalgamation creates a larger player pool, allowing Associations more viable programming opportunities and ensure meaningful competition for players.
Through Reorganization, two or more Associations combine to form a new Representative entity, while maintaining their current respective Recreational programming structure. This differs from Amalgamations in that local Recreational programming continues to operate as in previous seasons.
A recent example of Amalgamation involved Ajax Minor Hockey, Pickering Hockey and Ajax-Pickering AAA Zone. The new Association, Ajax-Pickering Minor Hockey Association, now offers programming at AAA, AA, A and BB as well as at the Recreational level.
“Our Rep teams are competitive again. We had many teams go to the OMHA Championships, and prior to amalgamation each centre struggled to field competitive teams. Our House League is now vibrant. We have six to eight full teams per age group which makes it much more exciting for the players. Prior to amalgamation, each association was struggling to have two or three House League teams per age groups with only 10 players on a team,” said Ajax-Pickering President Leo Nat. “Amalgamation has also allowed us to keep the costs reasonable. This lets us offer much more enhanced development programs to our teams. With the combing of resources, we are able to streamline some of the costs that each association would incur such as equipment and administrative fees.”
Through Reorganization, Schomberg Minor Hockey and Nobleking Minor Hockey formed King Township Minor Hockey Association and offer AA, A and BB Representative teams, while still offering their own Recreational programming in Schomberg and Nobleking under the King Township umbrella. Of note, Nobleking was the result of amalgamating Nobleton and King City years ago.
“King Township Minor Hockey was born of the ideal that athletes from across King Township could come together to create a new competitive Rep program while preserving the rich history of our Local League associations that would continue to operate as independent entities,” said KTMHA President Angelo Veri. “Fast forward six years, where last season our Rep program produced two York-Simcoe champions and had multiple teams qualify for the OMHA Championships. Our local league teams also continue to flourish under the Nobleking and Schomberg banners.”
These are the new Associations for the upcoming season:
Hamilton Steel (AAA): Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs (AAA) and Hamilton Huskies (AAA - Alliance)
Glancaster Bombers (AA): Glanbrook Rangers (A) and Ancaster Avalanche (A)
South Simcoe Storm (AA): Bradford-West Gwillimbury Bulldogs (A) and Innisfil Winterhawks (A)
Upper York Admirals (AA): East Gwillimbury Eagles (A) and Georgina Blaze (A)
Haldimand River Kings (A): Haldimand River Kings (A) and Hagersville Hawks (C)
South Oxford Storm (A): Ingersoll Express (B) and Tillsonburg Tornadoes (B)
Talbot Trailblazers (A): Essex Ravens (A) and Southpoint Capitals (B)
East Elgin Attack (B): Aylmer Flames (C) and Belmont Rangers (C)
Saugeen Valley Steelheads (B): Hanover Falcons (C) and West Grey Warriors (C)
Competitive balance and trends in registration numbers may influence the decision of Associations to begin exploring the Amalgamation process.
Amalgamations and Reorganizations are Association-led and membership-driven with a central focus on improving the player experience. Associations must acquire the support of their membership before the process can move forward.
As the governing body, the OMHA’s role is to support its Associations to identify options while ensuring adherence with appropriate governance regulations, including creating a constitution, regulations and by-laws. Communication among all impacted stakeholders is a critical element throughout the process.
Other considerations in the process include League participation, Base category, AAA Zone and team name, colours and logo.
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