As the 2018-2019 regular season winds down in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, details for the upcoming playoffs have been confirmed.
For starters, the top five teams in both the East Division and the West Division will qualify for the playoffs in the 12-member NOJHL.
Round 1 action will take place from March 8-13 and feature the fourth place and fifth place teams in each division facing off in a best-of-three, preliminary-round series. The winners of each series will advance to the division semi-finals.
Round 2, which is slated to be played from March 15-27, will feature four best-of-seven series — two in each division.
Of note, the Soo Thunderbirds have already clinched first place in the West Division and will take on the winner of the preliminary round series in one semi-final set.
From the semi-finals, the two surviving teams in each division will face off in a pair of best-of-seven sets from March 29-April 10 with the East and West winners advancing to the league championship series.
The NOJHL’s Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy championship series is also a best-of-seven affair and will be held from April 12-24.
The league champions will then advance to the 2019 Dudley-Hewitt Cup, Central Canada Junior A championship tournament to be held May 1-5 with the Cochrane Crunch of the NOJHL being the host team.
Should Cochrane, which is the reigning NOJHL champions, go on to repeat, then the league finalist will also advance to the DHC.
Joining the Crunch and/or the NOJHL winner/finalist at the five-day, DHC will be the champions from the Ontario Jr. Hockey League and the Superior International Jr. Hockey League.
The Dudley-Hewitt Cup winner will then advance to the Canadian Jr. A Hockey League championship tournament, which is slated for May 11-19 in Brooks, Alberta.
PHOTO: Nate Medaglia, Camden Findlay, Matthew Bazarin and the Soo Thunderbirds have already clinched the no. 1 seed in the West Division for the upcoming NOJHL playoffs. (Photo by Rod Aubertin.)