IROQUOIS FALLS – the Abitibi Eskimos have released their schedule for the upcoming NOJHL campaign.
The eight-team Northern Ontario Junior A loop will play a busy 56-game balanced schedule (up from the 48 games played last season). The Eskis will play four home and four away games against the North Bay Trappers, Soo Thunderbirds, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, Blind River Beavers, Sudbury Nickel Barons, Elliot Lake Bobcats and the yet to be monikered Espanola franchise.
Espanola is actually a relocation of the defending champion North Bay Trappers – same coach – same players. The “new” North Bay Trappers, who will play out of the West Ferris Arena, are a rebirth of the Soo Eagles who migrated to the NAHL two seasons ago.
Here are some notable highlights from the black-and-gold’s schedule:
· The Eskis will play a home-and-home preseason exhibition series with the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners. Abitibi will host Kirkland Lake on Saturday August 23rd and return the favour Sunday evening.
· Eskimos will play five Friday night home games at “the Mac” in Timmins; October 4th (Sudbury), November 15th (Espanola), December 13th (Blind River), January 17th (North Bay) and a Valentine’s Day date with the Sudbury Nickel Barons
· All 23 remaining home games (and playoffs) will be played at the Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls
· Eskis will open the season on the road on Wednesday September 4th in Sudbury
· Home Opener will happen on Saturday September 4th versus Espanola
Eskimos will end the 2013-14 regular season campaign on Saturday March 8th when they play host to the North Bay Trappers. Round one of the playoffs commence March 14th with all eight teams advancing. Regular season champion will face seed 8, seed 2 vs. 7 etc. in best-of-seven series.
The NOJHL will be sending an All-Star team to the Central Canada Cup in Montreal (Dec. 27-31) to compete against similar all-star squads from the Maritimes, Quebec, Central and southern Ontario members of the CJHL.
The league will also host a Showcase weekend in Elliot Lake (Feb. 10-12).
The Eskimos schedule is now available for viewing in the calendar section at www.eskis.com