Junior B, C, D
Junior B (junior AA in Quebec) was created in 1933, to differentiate between teams capable for Memorial Cup competition and those who were not. The major championships across Canada are the Sutherland Cup in Southern Ontario, the Carson Trophy in the Ottawa District, the Coupe Dodge in Quebec, the Don Johnson Cup in the Atlantic Provinces, and the Keystone Cup which represents all of Western Canada, from British Columbia to Northwestern Ontario.
Junior C (junior A in Quebec) is generally a local based system, but is considered competitive in some regions, and serve as seeding or farm-teams for Junior B teams. Ontario Junior C Hockey has 6 rounds of playoffs (up to 42 games of best-of-seven playoff rounds) for the Clarence Schmalz Cup which was first awarded in 1938. The Ontario playdowns are played for between 6 of the Province's 7 different regional leagues. In Quebec and West of Manitoba, Junior C hockey tends to be an extension of the local minor hockey system and is sometimes called Juvenile or House League. In Ontario, Manitoba, and the Maritimes, Junior C is run independently of minor hockey systems, though with the same mostly recreational purpose.
Junior D was popular in the 1960s and 1970s in dense population centers, but fell off in the early 1990s. In Quebec, Junior D is now known as Junior B and is run strictly by minor hockey associations. The last Junior D league is the OHA's Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League, the result of the merger of the Northern, Western, and Southern Junior D leagues in the late 1980s. At 16 teams, the league renamed itself a Junior Development league in the early 1990s, and the SOJHL in 2006. In recent years, the SOJHL has been trying to get itself declared a Junior C league and on April 26, 2012, the OHA's Board of Directors approved the move of all Junior D teams in the province to be re-classified as Junior C. Starting with the 2012-2013 season, SOJHL teams will play within their League as a “C” category but playoffs for the Schmalz Cup may not be available in Year One. The teams will be amalgamated and re-aligned into other Junior C Leagues in time for the 2013-14 season.
Teams at the lower level of junior hockey tend to operate as extensions of local minor hockey systems. While some future NHLers come from the lower levels of junior hockey, they are few. There is no national governing body at these levels, only provincial.
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