Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League

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For the present league by this name, see Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Southern Ontario Junior "A" Hockey League
Membership Ontario Hockey Association
Founded 1950
Ceased 1977
Sutherland Cups 6
Regional Champions 3
National Champions 1
First Champion Sarnia Jr. Sailors (1951)
Last Champion Guelph Platers (1977)
Aurora Tigers RBC.jpg
OHA Junior "A"
SOJHL (1970-1977)
OPJHL (1972–1987)
MetJHL (1991-1998)
OJHL (1993-Present)
Ontario Hockey Association
Canadian Junior Hockey League
OHA Junior "B"
WJBHL (1950-1968)
EJBHL (1950-1972)
MetJHL (1950-1989)
NDJBHL (1954-1979)
CJBHL (1954-1993)
BCJHL (1958-1964)
MOJBHL (1970-1978)
SWJBHL (1976-1978)
WOHL (1969-2007)
MWJHL (1973-2007)
GHL (1974-2007)
GOJHL (2007-Present)
Sutherland Cup

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[edit]

In 1956 the traditional 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 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 first two games of the Best-of-Seven series took place in St. Thomas, Ontario. Flin Flon won game one 6-2, while St. Thomas returned the favour in game two with a 6-3 win. The teams then shipped out to Flin Flon, where the Bombers took game three 5-0. In game four, the Bombers led 4-0 at 10:10 of the second period, and the last of two brawls in the game would break out. In retaliation, the Barons walked off the ice. When St. Thomas made it clear they would not finish the series, the Canadian Hockey Association awarded the championship to the Bombers. Coach Keith Kewly and Manager Jack Cassidy were suspended one season by their league and the team was fined $700. The town of St. Thomas had to raise $4500 to bring the team back home from Manitoba. Initially the CHA suspended the Barons for the entire 1969-70 season, but the suspension was overturned by the WOJAHL.

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 and Marty Howe, sons of legend Gordie Howe. Detroit defeated Guelph 3-games-to-2 with two ties to clinch the title. Detroit went on to defeat the Ottawa M & W Rangers in the quarterfinals of the Centennial Cup before losing to the Charlottetown Islanders in the Eastern Final. 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 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 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.

Teams[edit]

Former WOJHL/SOJHL Teams
Team Centre Joined Exited Status
Brantford Foresters Brantford, Ontario 1968 1970 Merged w/ Majors
Brantford Majors Brantford, Ontario 1970 1972 Joined NDJBHL
Buffalo-Glencoe Tondas Buffalo, NY/Glencoe, ON 1973 1974 Folded
Chatham Maroons Chatham, Ontario 1968 1976 Joined WJBHL
Collingwood Blues Collingwood, Ontario 1976 1977 Joined MOJCHL
Detroit Jr. Red Wings Detroit, Michigan 1970 1974 Joined NAHL
Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters Guelph, Ontario 1972 1975 Became Platers
Guelph CMC's Guelph, Ontario 1970 1972 Became Mad Hatters
Guelph Imperials/Beef Kings Guelph, Ontario 1968 1970 Merged w/ CMC's
Guelph Platers Guelph, Ontario 1975 1977 Joined OPJHL
Hamilton Mountain A's Hamilton, Ontario 1975 1977 Joined OPJHL
Michigan Americans Utica, Michigan 1973 1974 Folded
Niagara Falls Flyers Niagara Falls, Ontario 1972 1976 Folded
Owen Sound Greys Owen Sound, Ontario 1975 1977 Joined MWJHL
St. Thomas Elgins St. Thomas, Ontario 1968 1973 Merged w/ Colonels
Sarnia Bees Sarnia, Ontario 1971 1972 Joined WJBHL
Sarnia Legionnaires Sarnia, Ontario 1968 1970 Folded
Welland Sabres Welland, Ontario 1970 1976 Folded
Windsor Spitfires Windsor, Ontario 1971 1975 Joined OMJHL

Jack Oakes Memorial Trophy Playoff Champions[edit]

Frank L. Buckland Trophy - OHA Championship, competed for by SOJHL champion from 1971 until 1977. Won in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, and 1976.
Year Champion Finalist
1969 St. Thomas Barons Brantford Foresters
1970 Chatham Maroons Brantford Foresters
1971 Detroit Jr. Red Wings Guelph CMC's
1972 Guelph CMC's Detroit Jr. Red Wings
1973 Chatham Maroons Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters
1974 Windsor Spitfires Chatham Maroons
1975 Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters Windsor Spitfires
1976 Guelph Platers Chatham Maroons
1977 Guelph Platers Collingwood Blues

Western Junior "B" Champions[edit]

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

Eastern Centennial Cup semi-final champions[edit]

Year Champion Finalist Host
1971 Detroit Jr. Red Wings Ottawa M&W Rangers (CJHL) --
1972 Guelph CMC's Thunder Bay Vulcans (TBJHL) --
1975 Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters Thunder Bay Case Eagles (TBJHL) --

Centennial Cup champions[edit]

Year Champion Finalist Host
1972 Guelph CMC's Red Deer Rustlers (AJHL) --

See also[edit]

External links[edit]