It is playoff season in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League. The playoff parade begins with best-of-three preliminary round sets between the no. 4 and no. 5 seeds in both divisions of the NOJHL.
• In the West Division, fourth place Blind River Beavers take on fifth slot Elliot Lake Red Wings in a series between two nearby towns. Blind River is coming off of a regular season in which it earned 56 points from a record of 25-17-6. Elliot Lake ended with 36 points from a record of 17-29-2 but was hot down the stretch with a 6-3-1 mark over its last 10 games to overtake the Espanola Express for the fifth and final playoff spot. Even though Blind River finished 20 points ahead of Elliot Lake, it would not be considered much of a surprise if the Red Wings upended the Beavers, especially given how evenly matched the two teams were in head to head competition during the regular season. To be sure, no one connected to Blind River is looking past Elliot Lake.
• In the East Division, fourth place French River Rapids fashioned a 23-24-1 regular season record, good for 47 points. Fifth ranked Kirkland Lake Gold Miners managed just 27 points from a record of 12-33-3 and made the playoffs despite winning only one of their last 10 games. Indeed, Espanola missed the playoffs in the West Division with a record of 13-31-4 and 30 points, which was three more than Kirkland Lake managed.