If we go back a few years ago when the city of London only had 4 skating pads, Silverwoods, Farquharson, Carling, and Kinsmen were all outdoor pads and minor hockey was hardly heard of. With the building of new pads such as our Home Rink, Stronach Arena, organized hockey for kids started taking off. The Ontario Minor Hockey Association (O.M.H.A.) was the self appointed governing body for all of Ontario and they set the rules.
But people like Mac Beach, Al Langille, and Jim Leonard felt there were kids (and parents) who did not want to play stringent competitive hockey. These kids were not your superstars. They just wanted to be involved in a hockey program where they would be treated equally and get as much ice time as the other guy/girl.
The Stronach Minor Hockey League evolved from Mac's dream and provided a "house league" program for the young kids. There was still competition between the teams but not at the "win at all costs" level. Soon it grew and encompassed players from age 5 to 17. Membership in the club grew, and in 1971 it was incorporated as The Red Circle Hockey Club but maintained the basic philosophy:
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY REGARDLESS OF ABILITY
After more than 50 years, that philosophy is still maintained.
Mac, Al, and Jim were the first presidents of the club. In the years to follow, such names as Bob Booth, Pete Schmid, Jim Backus, Murray Currah and Don Hodgins added their leadership. Many of the ideas and changes made by these people are still in effect today.
Bea Booth, the mother of Red Circle, ran the concession booth at Stronach for many years and was known to every player in the club. She was instrumental in forming the Ladies' Auxiliary which, until recently, operated as the Red Circle Booster Club.
Jim Agathus, owner of the Huron House Restaurant was a major sponsor right from day one up to the day that The Huron House closed it doors for the last time. Other long term sponsors include Holiday Print & Promotions, SNG Consulting , several Optimists groups, Jack & Mels Skate Sharpening, Scotiabank and Tim Hortons.
In the mid 80's, Red Circle teamed up with Stoneybrook Athletic Association and formed several Ringette teams for girls. In the first year of operation, the Red Circle teams captured first place. As the girls grew into young women, they still wanted to play Ringette. Stu Murray and Ray Gibson coached the Merry Timers to several provincial championships during the group's history.
Although the club was set up as a house league program, there was a desire to play more competitive hockey with other clubs, but there was a huge problem. The O.M.H.A. did not recognize Red Circle as a minor hockey association and prohibited other O.M.H.A. teams from playing us. Eventually a new organization, called the Provincial Minor Hockey Association was formed and non-affiliated clubs from Oshawa, Brantford, Hamilton, and Copper Cliff joined. Red Circle formed "Select" teams from each division and these teams participated in and won many championships across Ontario. We still have the Select Program today. Players are registered and play in our House League Program make up those teams.
Also still during the mid 80's, the club held a promotional contest to find a name for our Select teams and a new logo. The chosen name of "Raiders" was submitted by Katrina MacPherson and the new logo was designed by Keith Alexander and Jason Brown.
In 2020 the Red Circle Hockey Club joined the ORHL. The 2021-2022 hockey season saw London Raiders compete in their first season of the ORHL. The London Raiders is committed to creating a hockey program for youth that is fun, where participants can develop and learn the techniques and skills of the game, life skills, and good sportsmanship in a safe competitive environment.
ONTARIO REP HOCKEY LEAGUE (ORHL) PROGRAM
RED CIRCLE FAMOUS NHL'ERS
Many great people have evolved from Red Circle and the most notable is Eric Lindros. He started playing in our Tyke Division and was a super-star even before joining the Oshawa team and moving on to the N.H.L. But Eric did not forget his roots. When he was selected as "Player of the Year" he was given a monetary award to be donated to his favourite hockey organization. Eric's coach in Red Circle was Aussie Sharrard and Aussie attended the award ceremony and accepted a cheque from Eric on behalf of Red Circle.
Today our Club is still growing and providing a family atmosphere for inspiring hockey players from age 4 to 20, and we still follow Mac's initial philosophy: EQUAL OPPORTUNITY REGARDLESS OF ABILITY