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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

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April 24, 2012
Fred Wallace
by: Fred Wallace

25 Years Later.......


Memories fade, but it strikes that one morning back in April of 1987, I awoke to hear Ed Eldred announce on his morning sports report that the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League was folding.

I was shocked, and stunned.

The Owen Sound Greys were members of that Tier Two Junior A Hockey League, in fact, they were the reigning league champions after sweeping the Aurora Eagles to win the Southern Ontario Championship 25 years ago.

Crowd support in Owen Sound was terrific, somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 per night. Do you remember the night Ray Edwards and the Greys rumbled with Mark Dunning & Aurora with first place on the line ?

Aurora, Richmond Hill and Markham all were folding their operations in April of 87, leaving Owen Sound as the only team standing; a championship club, with no league in which to play.

The solution a quarter of a century ago was to have Owen Sound return to Junior B Hockey but ONLY if they paid the visiting teams $ 300 every time they made a trip to the Harry Lumley-Bayshore Community Centre.

The Greys sucked it up, paid the cash and returned to Midwestern Junior B Hockey League, from then, essentially, until tomorrow night.

The Ontario Hockey Association Board will meet Wednesday in Cambridge and among the topics will be the shift of the Greys operation under David Arsenault to the Greater Toronto Area, specifically Brampton- a shift that is expected to be ratified by the OHA Board based on the recommendation of the Midwestern Junior Hockey League.

Historically, the OHA has generally followed the proposals delivered by their respective leagues in such matters.

It's a complex issue. And it's a highly contentious issue. But it's an issue that illustrates a significant change in hockey fortunes that didn't happen over night but instead took place, bit by bit, over 25 years leading to tomorrow night when it's expected Junior B hockey in Owen Sound will cease to exist.

I'm Fred Wallace

Bench Talk / Off The Wire is Bench Talk is heard every weekday morning at 7:35 am on Mix 106
Off The Wire is heard every weekday morning at 8:10 am on 560 CFOS

Posted: 2012-04-24 05:55:51

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