Northern Ontario Junior Hockey Association - History


The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey Association was founded in 1962 at the Caswell Espanola Hotel in Espanola, Ontario. Founded with five Northern Ontario communities and one Northern Michigan team, the league was founded in an effort to stop the flow of Northern Ontario talent from going to the OHA Junior A Hockey League and the various Junior B leagues. The NOJHA was a top tier Junior A hockey league and was eligible to compete for the Memorial Cup, the trophy of Canadian junior hockey supremacy.

The original six teams of the NOJHA were the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Sudbury Wolves, North Bay Trappers, Garson-Falconbridge Native Sons, Espanola Eagles, and Soo Michigan Realtors. By 1964, Soo Michigan dropped from the league. In 1969, the Native Sons moved to become the Chelmsford Canadiens.

In 1970, there was a massive shift in junior hockey. The NOJHA found itself relegated to a new level of hockey known as Tier II Junior A.

In 1971, the Espanola Eagles dropped from the league to the newly formed NOHA Junior B Hockey League. A season later, the entire NOJHA was forced to fold. With only four teams remaining, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury sought moves to the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League and were accepted. At the same time, North Bay applied for acceptance into the newly formed Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League, another Tier II league, and were accepted. With one team remaining, the league closed its doors. The remaining team, Chelmsford, followed Espanola's lead and joined the NOHA Junior B Hockey League.

In 1978, the NOHA Junior B Hockey League was promoted to Tier II Junior A status and renamed the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

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