Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League

----The Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League was a Tier II Junior "A" ice hockey that lasted from the late 1960s until 1977 in Southern Ontario, Canada. The league was swallowed by what is now called the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League in 1977.

:The Big '10' "Western Division" Prior to 1956:Western Ontario Junior "B" Hockey League 1956 - 1968:Western Ontario Junior "A" Hockey League 1968 - 1970:Southern Ontario Junior "A" Hockey League 1970 - 1977

History

In 1956 the tradition Big '10' League was divided, its Western Division became the Western Ontario Junior "B" Hockey League, and the Central Division became the Central Junior "B" Hockey League.

In the 1960s, the Western Junior "B" Hockey League was arguably the top league of Junior "B" hockey in Ontario. The Western's brass and the team owners felt that they should, as a whole, be promoted to Junior "A" status. In 1968 they pushed the issue with the Ontario Hockey Association. The the OHA refused the promotion and in return the league declared itself renegade. Declaring themselves the Western Junior "A" Hockey League, the WOJAHL operated independently for the next two seasons.

After the 1969 playoffs, the WOJAHL champion St. Thomas Barons, starring future NHLer Ken Murray, faced off against future Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke and the Flin Flon Bombers of the Western Canada Hockey League to determine a National Champion outside of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association. The best-of-7 championship took place in Flin Flon, Manitoba. The Bombers took the first three games of the series. During the second period of the fourth game the Barons forfeited the series claiming the Bombers style of play was too violent.

In 1970, the Top Tier of Junior Hockey in Ontario broke away from the OHA as well. To save face, the OHA opened negotiations with the WOJAHL. The league was welcomed back into the OHA as the top level in its system and changed its name to the Southern Ontario Junior "A" Hockey League.

The 1971 League title went to the Detroit Jr. Red Wings, starring Mark Howe, son of legend Gordie Howe and the son of Terry Sawchuk, Gerry Sawchuk. Detroit defeated Guelph 3-games-to-2 with two ties to clinch the title. The next season saw the Guelph CMC's challenge and defeat Detroit in the final 4-games-to-1. The CMC's pushed further and ended up winning the inaugural Manitoba Centennial Cup as Canadian Tier II Junior "A" Champions.

In 1973, the Chatham Maroons took the league crown and then defeated the newly formed Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League's champion the Wexford Warriors for the OHA Crown. The next season's title was won by the Windsor Spitfires who then fell to the Warriors in seven games.

The '75 title was won by the CMC's again. They made it all the way to the National title, but fell to the Alberta Junior Hockey League champion. In 1975-76, the CMC's were bought and renamed the Guelph Platers. They won the league once again, and moved on to the national title playdowns. Their first opponent was the Rockland Nationals of the Central Junior A Hockey League. After going up 3-games-to-none on them, the Platers fell apart and lost in seven games.

The league had six teams in 1975-76 but that was only due to the additions of the Hamilton Mountain A's and the Owen Sound Greys. The Jr. Red Wings had gone back to playing in the United States, the Sarnia Bees went to the newly formed Western Junior B Hockey League and the Windsor Spitfires (also known as the Bulldogs from '73-'75) moved up to the Ontario Hockey League.

In 1976-77 the Collingwood Blues also joined the league but three other teams dropped out, reducing the number of clubs to four. The Niagara Falls Flyers folded to make way for a new OHL franchise in that city, the Welland Sabres also folded and Chatham returned to Junior B.

After the 1977 playoffs, the league folded and the Platers and A's were invited to join the OPJHL. The Greys went on hiatus for one season and then moved up to the Major Intermediate A Hockey League. Collingwood returned to Junior B. The Guelph Platers joined the OHL in 1982 and are now known as the Owen Sound Attack.

The Teams

Jack Oakes Memorial Trophy Playoff Champions

:1977 Guelph Platers:1976 Guelph Platers:1975 Guelph CMC's:1974 Windsor Bulldogs:1973 Chatham Maroons:1972 Guelph CMC's:1971 Detroit Jr. Red Wings

Western Junior "A" Champions

:1970 Chatham Maroons:1969 St. Thomas Barons

Western Junior "B" Champions

:1968 Sarnia Legionnaires:1967 St. Thomas Barons:1966 Sarnia Legionnaires:1965 London Nationals:1964 London Nationals:1963 St. Marys Lincolns:1962 St. Thomas Barons:1961 St. Marys Lincolns:1960 St. Marys Lincolns:1959 Sarnia Legionnaires:1958 Sarnia Legionnaires:1957 Sarnia Legionnaires:1956 Simcoe Gunners:1955 Seaforth Baldwins:1954 Seaforth Baldwins:1953 Seaforth Baldwins:1952 London Lou Ball:1951 Sarnia Jr. Sailors

ee also

*Ontario Hockey Association
*Ontario Hockey League
*Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League
*Centennial Cup
*Dudley Hewitt Cup
*List of ice hockey leagues


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