Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League
|Current season or competition:
2013–14 GMHL season
|Region(s)||Greater Toronto Area, Central Ontario, Northeastern Ontario, and Quebec|
|Recent Champions||Bradford Rattlers (2012-13)|
The Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League (GMHL) is a Canadian Developmental Junior "A" ice hockey league. The GMHL is not affiliated with the Canadian Junior Hockey League or a member by Hockey Canada. The league has teams in the Greater Toronto Area, Central Ontario, Northeastern Ontario, New York, and Quebec. As of May 2012, the league's alumni page lists 195 players from 2006-2012 who left the GMHL to play for NCAA colleges, various professional leagues, major junior teams, or represented their country in various IIHF World Championships.
The league, founded by Bob Russell and Hockeyworks International Ltd., opened its doors in early 2006, with a unique concept and approach to improving the standard of developing young hockey players within a Junior 'A' league format setting.
A Draft Showcase took place from May 5 until May 7, 2006 with players from Canada, United States, and Europe taking up residence at the Hockeyworks' World Hockey Centre near Shelburne, Ontario to take part in the league's first tryout camp.
As of the September 2006, it became clear that the league would operate its first season with seven teams. The original seven were the Bradford Rattlers, Deseronto Thunder, King Wild, Nipissing Alouettes, Richmond Hill Rams, South Muskoka Shield, and Toronto Canada Moose.
The league's first ever game took place on September 8, 2006 between the King Wild and the Richmond Hill Rams at 7:30 PM EST. The final result was a 6-0 victory for the Rams, despite being badly outshot by the Wild. The first goal in the league's history was scored by the Rams' Darren Archibald (future Vancouver Canucks prospect) on the powerplay during the first period. Rams' goaltender Daniel Jones picked up the historical first victory, as well as the league's first shutout in history.
On November 15, 2006, the GMJHL announced its affiliation with the World Hockey Association  and creation of the National Junior Hockey Alliance. The affiliation resulted in a national championship between the GMJHL playoff champion and the winner of the WHA Junior West Hockey League after the 2006-07 season. This agreement seems to have only managed to last one season, as the WHAJHL became apparently more erratic.
The first ever regular season of the GMJHL concluded on February 25, 2007 with the Bradford Rattlers leading the way as regular season champs with a record of 37 wins, 1 regulation loss, and 4 overtime losses. In the playoffs, the Rattlers beat the Deseronto Thunder in 6 games, and then the King Wild in 5 games to win the first ever Russell Cup as playoff champions.
In September 2007, the GMJHL started its second season with six new teams, the Douro Dukes, Elliot Lake Bobcats, Espanola Kings, Innisfil Lakers, Tamworth Cyclones, and Temiscaming Royals. The Deseronto Thunder ran into financial trouble after their first season and ownership of the team was transferred to the town. The team is now known as the Deseronto Storm.
On December 11, 2007, the GMJHL announced a seven game challenge series versus a Russian team known as the Moscow Selects. In late December and early January, the top seven teams of the GMJHL will compete against the Moscow Selects—a mixture of top Top Junior talent from the City of Moscow. The Selects played seven games, against Bradford, Innisfil, Temiscaming, Elliot Lake, Richmond Hill, Deseronto, and South Muskoka, winning each game. In March 2008, the King Wild and Richmond Hill Rams played two games each against the Mexico national ice hockey team. The Wild won both their games, while the Rams lost both of theirs.
For the 2008-09 season, the GMJHL will adopt much of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's ice hockey rulebook. The GMJHL added the Minden Riverkings and the Oro-Medonte 77's to the mix, and the Dukes relocated to become the Brock Bucks. At the same time, the Quebec-based Temiscaming Royals walked away from the league to join the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, but were replaced within weeks by the Ville-Marie Dragons.
In December 2008 and January 2009, eight teams of the GMHL hosted Kazakhstan's Under-18 Torpedo UST-Kamenogorsk squad. Victorious were the Elliot Lake Bobcats (twice), South Muskoka Shield, King Wild, Bradford Rattlers, Innisfil Lakers, and a Nipissing/Ville-Marie Combine squad. The only loss for a GMHL team happened to the Toronto Canada Moose.
In the Summer of 2010, the GMHL expanded in two fashions internationally. First, the created Canada's only All-Russian team in the Shelburne Red Wings and then late in the summer they expanded to the United States through the expansion of the Jamestown Jets.
On September 17, 2010, the GMHL played its first international regulation game, in Jamestown, New York between the Jamestown Jets and Sturgeon Falls Lumberjacks, both expansion teams to the league for the 2010-11 season. Jamestown won the game 4-3. In December 2010, the GMHL named its first full-time commissioner Bob Bernstein.
In Mid-January 2011, it was announced that the town of Iron Bridge, Ontario and its 500-seat Outdoor Arena would host a regular season game, known as the North Shore Winter Classic, between the Elliot Lake Bobcats and Algoma Avalanche on January 29, 2011. This is the first known regulation outdoor game in Ontario in the modern era. Elliot Lake would win the game 8-2 in front of an estimated 400 fans.
- Expansion granted to the Alliston Coyotes of Alliston, Ontario.
- Expansion granted to the Seguin Huskies of Seguin, Ontario.
- Expansion granted to the Toronto Predators of Toronto, Ontario.
- Expansion granted to Halton Ravens of Burlington, Ontario.
- Expansion granted to Knights of Meaford of Meaford, Ontario.
- Toronto Canada Moose renamed Toronto Blue Ice Jets.
Regular Season Champions
Russell Cup Playoff Champions
In 2009, the GMJHL used a North and South Division. Overall champions are bolded.
Since 2009, the GMHL has had a mid-season prospect tournament in Elliot Lake, Ontario each season in November. Generally, the top seven teams of the league compete in the tournament with an eight team, the GMHL Selects representing the other teams in the league.
The 2012 tournament featured both the Bradford Rattlers and South Muskoka Shield being thrown out in the semi-final round. An incident, both on-ice and later off-ice, involving a player from each team and later two more players and a parent from one team entering the altercation, resulted in a police investigation and one team refusing to continue. The league disqualified both teams after the game failed to continue.
- Best record:
- 2012-13 Bradford Rattlers (42-0-0-0)
- Worst record:
- 2007-08 Douro Dukes (2-40-0-0)
- Most goals for by team, one season:
- 2010-11 Elliot Lake Bobcats (320)
- Least goals for by team, one season:
- 2007-08 Douro Dukes (108)
- Least goals against by team, one season:
- 2012-13 Bradford Rattlers (95)
- Most goals against by team, one season:
- 2007-08 Douro Dukes (392)
- Largest margin of victory:
- Elliot Lake Bobcats 29 - Ville-Marie Dragons 1 on December 6, 2008
- Most goals, one season:
- Alexander Nikulnikov (69) -- 2010-11 Shelburne Red Wings
- Most assists, one season:
- Stanislav Dzakhov (78) -- 2010-11 Shelburne Red Wings
- Most points, one season:
- Alexander Nikulnikov (140) -- 2010-11 Shelburne Red Wings
- Stanislav Dzakhov (140) -- 2010-11 Shelburne Red Wings
- Lowest goals against average, one season:
- Rob Sutherland (1.70) -- 2009-10 South Muskoka Shield
Timeline of teams in the GMHL
- 2006 - League is formed with seven teams: Bradford Rattlers, Deseronto Thunder, King Wild, Nipissing Alouettes, Richmond Hill Rams, South Muskoka Shield, Toronto Canada Moose
- 2007 - Deseronto Thunder become Deseronto Storm
- 2007 - League expands by six teams: Douro Dukes, Elliot Lake Bobcats, Espanola Kings, Innisfil Lakers, Tamworth Cyclones, Temiscaming Royals
- 2008 - Douro Dukes move and become Brock Bucks
- 2008 - Richmond Hill Rams become Ontario Lightning Rams
- 2008 - Oro-Medonte 77's join league
- 2008 - Ville-Marie Dragons join league
- 2008 - Minden Riverkings join league
- 2008 - Temiscaming Royals leave league for Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League
- 2009 - Ville-Marie Dragons fold mid-season (January)
- 2009 - Tamworth Cyclones fold mid-season (January)
- 2009 - Ontario Lightning Rams leave league
- 2009 - Espanola Kings leave league
- 2009 - Nipissing Alouettes leave league
- 2009 - Algoma Avalanche join league
- 2009 - Ville-Marie Dragons move and become Powassan Dragons
- 2009 - Minden Riverkings fold mid-season (November)
- 2010 - Shelburne Red Wings join league
- 2010 - Sturgeon Falls Lumberjacks join league
- 2010 - King Wild move and become Vaughan Wild
- 2010 - Brock Bucks move and become Bobcaygeon Bucks
- 2010 - Innisfil Lakers leave league
- 2010 - Jamestown Jets join league from Northern Junior Hockey League - League's first American team
- 2011 - Mattawa Voyageurs join league
- 2011 - Temiscaming Titans join league
- 2011 - Halton Huskies join league
- 2011 - Orangeville Americans join league
- 2011 - Vaughan Stars join league
- 2011 - Vaughan Wild move and become Lefroy Wave
- 2011 - Powassan Dragons change name to Powassan Eagles
- 2011 - Oro-Medonte 77's leave league
- 2011 - Jamestown Jets leave league
- 2012 - Rama Aces join league
- 2012 - Powassan Eagles return
- 2012 - Bradford Bulls join league
- 2012 - Toronto Attack join league
- 2012 - Bracebridge Phantoms join league
- 2012 - Elliot Lake Bobcats leave league for Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League
- 2012 - Deseronto Storm leave league for Empire B Junior C Hockey League
- 2012 - Algoma Avalanche leave league
- Greater Metro Jr. "A" Hockey League Official Website
- GMHL Statistical Website
- GMHL Forum
- OHF's GMHL Policy
- GMHL Fan Site