The Eastern “AAA” (ETA) Hockey League was founded on August 8, 1990 under the direction of the OMHA. The original centres in the ETA were Kingston, Markham, Oshawa, Peterborough, Quinte, Richmond Hill / Vaughan, and York Simcoe.
Whitby and Ajax-Pickering were admitted in 1991/92, and Central joined the group for the 1992/93 season. In that year, the league also split into East and West Divisions, and Kingston left at the end of the same year to join the Ottawa District Hockey Association on a provisional basis.
Barrie was accepted into the ETA in 1994/95, North Central in 1996/97, and Clarington in 1999/2000. Kingston rejoined the League for the 2007/08 season.
When Barrie was accepted into the ETA league in 1994/95, many players from the existing North Central Zone wanted to play at the “AAA” level. Accordingly, many would make the journey down to Barrie for tryouts to hopefully make a team. However, even if some players made a team, it was a long trip. The ordeal of Barrie early morning practices made it very difficult to participate in “AAA” hockey.
During the season of 1995/96, a group of people banded together to start the formation of the North Central Ontario Predators. Brenda Demaine, Holly Hewson, Karen Finlay, Marilyn Velenosi, and Dave Johnson, just to mention a few, approached the OMHA and the ETA to form an organization north of Barrie to allow players in our existing zone to play at the elite “AAA” level. With the help of Kevin Almond of the OMHA, the NCOHA drafted a Constitution
and Procedures Manual
for their organization.
The initial logo for the organization was:
The first few years were a struggle for the Predators. Many teams had just enough players to field a team or had to depend on other zone cuts to fill their rosters. However, each subsequent year has seen more and more players want to play at the “AAA” level. At the tryouts for the 2007/08 year, record numbers of players came out to try and make the seven available teams.
Since the initial year, the teams have grown in success. The Predators have now captured one OMHA Championship and two ETA Championships. The future of the Association continues to look brighter every year. Many players from the past have gone on to play hockey in the Jr., U.S. College, and OHL ranks. With the advent of this revamped website, we will be instituting new sections to cover Alumni & Hall of Fame players, and acknowledge Life Members for their contribution to the Predators over the years.
Part of the growth of the Predators has also seen a change in the crest of the association. With the advent of the Nashville Predators into the National Hockey League, there was ever-increasing pressure within the NCOHA to change the crest to that of the NHL team. After considerable thought, and permission from the NHL, the Executive voted to accept the new crest. Accordingly, the following was accepted and now appears on all of the apparel and sweaters of the NCOHA.
The future continues to look bright for the Predators. We continue to help develop players to advance to the higher levels and obtain post-secondary education, either through Jr. schoolboy packages (OHL), or through College scholarships. We not only want our players to have a good education, but we also want to help them to be better people in our communities. We are proud to help these kids attain their goals and will continue to serve them in the future.