Former OHA Board Member Sheds More Light On Ongoing Jr. Hockey Dispute

(Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / lsantilli)

A former member of the OHA board has given more information into the ongoing dispute between the Ontario Hockey Association and the group known as GOJHL Inc.

Don Killgallen was nominated to the OHA board by the PJHL 3 months ago, and resigned nearly a week ago. Killgallen has been involved with PJHL Jr. C hockey for a number of years as an owner of the Grimsby Peach Kings, who are in the process of being sold. Killgallen says he didn’t really want to get involved with the board, but wanted to try and help settle some of the unrest between the OHA and some of the member teams.

“I really wasn’t keen on getting involved, but I figured if it was just a year or two, and I could help get all this settled, I’d do it and try and represent the people that voted for me. Eventually, I just felt that with the way the board is operating, it was a waste of time for me to be there, so I decided to step down, and I feel badly for the people that wanted me there, but again, I don’t feel my opinion matters much, so I said why bother?”

Killgallen says that currently, he feels the OHA board of directors has a lack of transparency.

“The powers that be, I find that there is a lack of transparency, integrity, and there’s a lot of manipulation, and really just outright lying going on. Which, quite frankly, until something quite drastic is done with the OHA board of directors, the problem that the OHA is creating within their membership is going to continue. I felt like, quite frankly, until those major changes happen, that people like me are just wasting their time.”

When asked about the alleged special meeting that has been called by a large contingent of OHA member teams to remove the board and President Karen Phibbs, Killgallen confirmed what has been told to CKNX by a number of other sources.

“It’s true, it’s all true, and I believe that the certain individuals on the OHA board of directors went out of their way over the last, I’d say 6-8 months, to divide the GOJHL, and they’ve been successful. It started with 3 teams. My understanding, to back up a bit, is that a few years ago, the GOJHL developed a group that’s called the GOJHL Inc. They did this with the support of the OHA. At the time, 26 teams sat down and signed an agreement. That went along for 2 years. At some point, it’s pretty obvious to me that the executives at the OHA decided that they were no longer going to support this agreement. The reason why, I have no idea. 3 teams decided last year, that they didn’t want to pay their dues. They collected the money from the kids, but they didn’t pay it. The OHA told the GOJHL that they are not a sanctioned body, and therefore, they’re not about to help the league collect money. I’ve heard people within the OHA say ‘we’re not a collection agency’, or ‘that’s your problem.’ They promoted this division that’s happening, and it all started with those 3 teams.”

In regards to the alleged date of the special meeting, which has been rumoured to be on Saturday, September 15th, Killgallen said he couldn’t confirm the date, but that things are in motion among the teams calling the meeting.

“I can’t confirm that date, but I know that as of today, they are beginning to gather votes. I’m not aware of the date, I am aware it’s being called, and my guess is the OHA is going to do anything in their power to shut it down, but I’m not sure that they can. We’ve witnessed this once before, several months ago. The other thing I want to clarify is I’ve only been with the board for 3 months. When the last special meeting was called, I had people ask me if I would run for the board, and I said fine I would. It wasn’t something I wouldn’t to do long-term, but short-term, if I could try and help I’d be happy. I’ve been involved in OHA hockey for 12 years. I’m disappointed that I feel this way, I feel bad for who nominated me, but at the end of the day, I don’t have enough spare time to be wasting my time, and until certain individuals are no longer on the board, I can’t see my input being valuable.”

The season is going ahead as usual, with some teams having already played. It is unclear what unrest this could cause in the near future, potentially even the playoffs. More details as they become available.