Hockey house league in Oshawa denied re-entry by OMHA after one-year hiatus

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Published March 27, 2024 at 10:21 am

Tim Bits
NASC Hockey. Photo Goodall Media

After a year away from the game, Oshawa’s NASC​ hockey league has been denied re-entry by the Ontario Minor Hockey Association.

NASC Hockey, the city’s oldest minor hockey organization and a mainstay at arenas in Oshawa since 1947, abruptly ceased operations last summer, five weeks from the beginning of the house league season.

Outgoing Chair Bob Babin cited a lack of volunteers, lower than projected membership and some “unforeseen challenges” as the reasons for the sudden end to the league, which celebrated 75 years in operation last season.

“It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the unfortunate decision to cease operations for the upcoming 2023-2024 hockey season effective immediately,” Babin said in a letter to parents and players.

After a re-boot the league applied to be reinstated in time for the 2024-25 season only to be rejected by the OMHA, the province’s biggest hockey organization.

The OMHA sent a letter to Babin with the bad news, saying hockey had been “effectively serviced” by other hockey clubs last season.

“The Board of Directors believe the hockey community in Oshawa has been effectively serviced by the existing OMHA sanctioned minor hockey organizations during NASC’s hiatus during the 2023-24 season. Further, the Board does not feel that there would be any additional benefit to minor hockey by reinstating NASC and accordingly, this request was denied.”

​Babin assured parents and players in a letter that NASC “explored all avenues” in getting the program re-instated. “However, circumstances beyond our control coupled with misinformation from our governing body (OMHA) have led us to this unfortunate outcome.”

Former NASC Chair Bob Babin

“Once again it is with heavy hearts that we are forced to announce unfortunate news.”

The NASC, commonly called the ‘Park League’ in Oshawa, had seen declining membership in recent years. The oldest age in the league in the 2022-23 season was Bantam, with the league supporting just five teams in that age group.

Parents were left to scramble to find teams for their kids last year in the hopes of the city’s other house league organization, the OCHL, or neighbouring leagues in Whitby and Clarington could accommodate them.

“We understand the disappointment this may bring to you and your children, as hockey is more than just a sport—it’s a community and a cherished part of many families’ lives,” Babin, who served as Chair of the league for 22 years, said in the letter. “We want to express our gratitude for your unwavering support and commitment throughout the 75 years of NASC Hockey.”

​Babin thanked the players, parents, coaches, and volunteers for their contributions over the years.

“While this may be the end of one chapter, we hope it’s not the end of your love for hockey. We encourage you to explore other opportunities in the community to continue fostering your children’s passion for the sport.”

Babin has not responded for further comment.

 

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