OTTAWA – A familiar hockey name is returning to the region. The Central Canada Hockey League 2 announced June 12th the league would return to its original Junior B name, the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League.
The league said in its announcement that it would continue to be a development league for the CCHL and higher levels, but it would focus on independence as a league.
Five of the 16 teams in the EOJHL are owned by CCHL clubs.
“During the last five seasons, the CCHL2 has provided many opportunities for young athletes to further develop their skills to allow them to move on to the next level,” said Sylvain Dignard, chairman of the EOJHL board. “It has also been an excellent avenue for graduating players who aspired to pursue their studies while playing in a very competitive league.”
Dignard said that the league’s mission is to continue its approach with athletes and work with the CCHL and the National Capital Junior Hockey League.
The league also announced Sean Marcellus as the new league commissioner. Marcellus was previously Director of Operations for the CCHL and CCHL2. He replaces Kevin Abrams, who was commissioner for five seasons.
Community-owned clubs in the league like the Winchester Hawks, support the league change.
“These are good changes,” said Hawks GM and President Dom Menard. “I feel that getting back to our roots will help in the long run. Eastern Ontario has a rich history of Junior hockey and the changes will allow the EOJHL to continue to be the option for players dedicated to playing a high caliber of hockey while pursuing their academics.”
The 16-team league changed its name to the CCHL2 five years ago as the Junior B league aligned closely with the CCHL Junior A league. That move saw six clubs exit the league including the Morrisburg Lions, Akwesasne Wolves, and Gananoque Islanders. The Lions joined the NCJHL at the start of the 2015-16 season.
More changes on the way
The EOJHL announcement is the first of several changes that will go into effect for the 2020-21 hockey season in Eastern Ontario.
The governing body for all hockey in Eastern Ontario, Hockey Eastern Ontario, is currently undergoing a restructuring process that will merge HEO and HEO Minor into one streamlined organization.
A review committee is releasing the full restructuring plan for member clubs and associations to review on June 17th.
HEO members will vote on the restructuring plan on July 11th.