Just call it a small-town showdown between two Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League markets with a combined population of less than 8,000.
As far as feel-good stories goes at this level of hockey, this one is right up there.
Representing the East Division in the NOJHL championship series are the Powassan Voodoos, who are only in their third year of existence as a franchise.
Representing the West Division are the Blind River Beavers, who are just two years removed from a zero-win season and who last season won only 10 games and missed the playoffs.
Both play out of small-market towns with almost-identical populations of about 3,500. Really, it does not get much-cozier than this.
A powerhouse, Powassan finished first overall during the regular season and has yet to taste defeat in the playoffs with eight straight victories.
On the West side, no. 2 seed Blind River needed to win Game 7 to upend no. 3 seed Rayside-Balfour Canadians in the first round of the playoffs before breezing past the no. 4 seed Soo Eagles in five games in the second round.
On paper, Powassan has the presence of more overall talent and depth than Blind River. And that is not selling the Beavers short — it is merely stating how strong the Voodoos are.
Behind the bench, both teams are in very-capable hands with third-year man Scott Wray leading the Voodoos and rookie bench boss Kyle Brick barking out the orders for the Beavers.
Both teams have good men leading the hockey departments.
In Powassan, it’s man-of-many talents Chris Dawson who is the Voodoos general manager. There is not a junior hockey executive quite like the affable Dawson, whose main occupation is that of multi-dimensional journalist as a sportswriter for a North Bay website, on-air television reporter for The Weather Network and director of Dawstar Video Scouting Services.
In Blind River, the Beavers boast a decision-making troika of the aforementioned Brick, senior advisor Charly Murray and director of player personnel Craig MacDonald who operate under the supervision of administrative general manager Penny Poisson-Lawrence.
Looking ahead at the best-of-seven playoff for the NOJHL championship, this is a series that one could almost wish that neither team would lose in that both are in uncharted waters as small-market franchises that emerged from humble experiences.
And while one team will ultimately end up ahead of the other in this series, both can already be determined winners for the improbable season they have enjoyed to date.