The HEO 'AAA' Hockey League History (Formerly known as OEMHL AAA Hockey League)
In the fall of 2004, hockey enthusiasts in the Ottawa branch raised the possibility of creating a 'AAA' league within the boundaries of the ODHA/ODMHA. After many hours of discussions and input from executives and the hockey community at large, the ODMHA in 2005 created a “AAA Sub-committee” who were tasked with the responsibility to hold sessions with the stakeholders in the branch, gather data on the registration numbers, receive submissions from the hockey community and liaise with ODMHA Minor Council to ascertain whether a AAA league within the ODMHA was viable and feasible.
After several months of holding meetings, discussion groups and gathering data, the AAA Sub-committee presented an update to Minor Council in February of 2006. Council members provided direction to the Sub-committee to review a zone type concept, merging the ODMHA’s existing districts into five zones, while not adding a fourth level of competitive hockey in the Branch. On December 14th, 2006, the Sub-committee presented their findings to Minor Council. Highlights included five zones, a three-year pilot project, bantam and midget levels only, effective for the 2007-2008 playing season. Council members accepted in-principal a motion to adopt the Sub-committee’s recommendations.
On January 29th, 2007, at a special meeting of Minor Council, the following motion was put forward stating that:
“A branch-wide “AAA” league will commence in the ODMHA, for the 2007-2008 hockey season, in accordance with the regulations and policies drafted by the AAA Sub-committee under mandate from Minor Council”.
With the passing of the motion, a historic milestone in the annals of hockey in the ODHA/ODMHA, AAA hockey was now being introduced as part of our hockey program.
The new pilot league was now set to operate under the banner of the “Ontario East-Est Minor Hockey League AAA" with four new associations being created: Upper Canada Cyclones, Ottawa AAA Senators, Ottawa Junior 67’s and the Eastern Ontario Wild. These four, along with the Ottawa Valley Titans, who relocated from the AA league, comprised the five member associations and the first season of play officially commenced on September 15th, 2007.
In January of 2008, members of Minor Council passed a resolution to reorganize the AAA Zones with the following adjustments: Osgoode-Rideau and Richmond-Munster would shift from Ottawa Valley to Upper Canada, Metcalfe from the Junior 67’s to Upper Canada, South Stormont from Eastern Ontario to Upper Canada and Ottawa West was moved to the Junior 67’s from the Ottawa Senators.
On June 29, 2009, members of Minor Council grant membership status into the ODMHA the Ontario Hockey Academy. The OHA thus entered a minor and major midget team in the AAA league, commencing play in September 2009.
“Hockey Day in Canada” too place on January 30, 2010, and to celebrate this great game, the ODMHA membership voted unanimously that the top tier of hockey will be that of AAA commencing with the 2010-2011 playing season. This brings to conclusion the pilot project that had been in place for the last three years.
In June of 2010, the OEMHL AAA expanded accepting teams from Hockey Outaouais at the major bantam and major midget divisions. This same season, ODHA introduced an Under 16 Development Program in the branch.
In 2011, the OEMHL AAA expanded by accepting teams from the Canadian International Hockey Academy at the major bantam, minor midget and major midget levels.
In May 2015, HEO Minor announced the adoption of a three-year pilot project that saw the formation of a separate League focused on a combined midget program aligned with the 12 CCHL Tier 1 League. The OEMHL AAA League changed its name to the HEO Minor 'AAA' Hockey League, formed of three divisions, major peewee, minor bantam and major bantam.
In May 2018, HEO Minor extended the three-year pilot project another two years, until April 2020. In April 2020, HEO Minor approved the pilot project to be permanent.
In April 2022, HEO Board of Directors approved a four year pilot project for U12 AAA.
HEO 'AAA' Hockey League's Past Presidents
• Jim Powell (2007-2012)
• Chester Burtt (2012-2019)
• Gary Stewart (2019-2020)
• Lucas Cacciotti (2020-Present)