Creemore Coyotes join new league under the OHA

 In Sports
 The Creemore Coyotes senior hockey team is joining a new Ontario Elite Hockey League (OEHL), under the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) and Hockey Canada umbrella.

“We are excited to add Ontario Elite Hockey League to the OHA,” said OHA chair Marc Mercier. “Through this endeavour, 12 teams will be added to our senior hockey category bringing our total number of teams in the OHA up to 124. In addition, this is an opportunity to grow alongside the OEHL and to give adult players in Ontario enhanced competitive opportunities to continue their playing days as a valued part of the OHA family.”

The OHA is the governing body for the majority of junior and senior hockey in Ontario and is a member partner of the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF). It is comprised of three junior hockey leagues and one senior hockey league. The OHA provides administrative resources, coordinates programs, services and events for hockey participants and provides support to various development programs for coaches, officials, trainers and players, safety and risk management issues and offers resources for harassment and abuse education.

The OEHL clubs will play a 22-game regular season beginning Oct. 6, with the first home game in Creemore on Oct. 21.

Also joining the league are the Durham Thundercats, Lucknow Lancers, Milverton Four Wheel Drives, Minto 81’s, Ripley Wolves, Saugeen Shores Winterhawks, Seaforth Centenaires, Shelburne Muskies and Tavistock Royals, along with expansion teams from The Georgian Bay Applekings based in Thornbury, and the Erin Outlaws.

The Coyotes played their first two seasons in the former Western Ontario Athletic Association (WOAA) Senior Hockey League, an unsanctioned league with no affiliation with any governing bodies in Ontario or Canada. The team finished their second seasonwith 12 wins and eight losses, losing in the first round exit in playoffs to Saugeen Shores 4-2, having left a good impression on the other teams in the league.

“I am very excited,” said Creemore Coyotes Hockey Club president and general manager Tom Macham.

The affiliation adds credibility, meaning the teams should attract a higher caliber of player and additional opportunities for corporate sponsorship, said Macham.

“We’re no longer an outlaw league,” he said. “I’m feeling very positive about the upcoming season. Our defence will be much stronger and our forwards will be stronger, with the only question mark being in net.”

The Coyotes are changing up a few players but the goal is to maintain a 40-per cent “home grown” roster.

JD Falconer, Kevin Boyd and Ben Hughes – the “three amigos” – are returning this season and Macham says he is working on getting two more elite players released from their current clubs.

Macham’s son Brendan Macham, of New Lowell, and Mason Kameka (Orangeville) will be the veterans between the pipes, but are inexperienced with only 23 starts in total between the two in senior hockey. Also in net are two new players, both 22 years old and with limited junior experience.

The OHA says with the creation of the new Ontario Elite Hockey Leaguethe goal is to ensure AA hockey thrives in Ontario’s small towns.

“We need to evolve our brand,” said Kyle Wynette, president of the Tavistock Royals and defending AA champion of the former Western Ontario Athletic Association.

“We want to able to grow and bring our game to a bigger audience while preserving quality senior hockey in these small town communities,” said Wynette.

The local senior hockey team signifies something special within many small towns, says the OHA.

“To the kids in the school who show up every weekend to our home games… these guys are NHLers to them. These are their local heroes that they look up to,” said Wynette.

“We want the kids to come out and parents to come with them. We want senior hockey to continue to be a staple of weekend entertainment in these small communities. It’s often the best ticket in town on a Friday [or] Saturday night and is a place where communities come together to cheer on their favourite team. We’ve often said that Senior AA is the best kept secret around, now it’s time we grow our fan base under the umbrella of the OHA and Hockey Canada.”

With the new affiliation the Coyotes will also be able to play area junior teams in exhibition games that fall under the same insurance coverage, which would be fun for local fans and could raise funds for local causes.

“Try to come out to the home games and prepare to have a lot of fun, a lot of giveaways, freebies, high level hockey for their entertainment dollar,” said Macham.

Activities for the 11 home games in Creemore also include raffles and live entertainment in the booster club. First up is a wine tasting event with Creemore Hills Winery on Nov. 18.

Fees remain the same for the 2023- 2024 season. Family passes available. Details and schedules are posted at

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