NOJHL announces 2019 playoff format/timeline

SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Saturday the format and timeline for the upcoming 2019 NOJHL playoffs and the quest for the Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy.

Of the 12 league teams, the top five clubs in each of the NOJHL’s East and West Divisions will qualify for postseason play.

Round 1 action will run from March 8-13 and features the No. 4 and No. 5 seeded squads in each division competing in a best-of-three play-in survivor series with the winners of each moving on to the divisional semifinals.

Next up in Round 2, which is slated to be held from March 15-27, features four best-of-seven series.

In the East, the No. 1 seed there will take on that division’s survivor series winner while the second and third place clubs will also meet.

It will be the same format in the NOJHL West with the No. 1 side, which is confirmed to be the Soo Thunderbirds, taking on the opening round divisional winner with the second and third place sides squaring off in the other series.

From there 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 NOJHL champion will then advance to the 2019 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Junior A championship May 1-5, which will be hosted by the NOJHL’s Cochrane Crunch.

Should Cochrane, the defending 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 event will be the title holders of the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Buckland Cup and the Superior International Junior Hockey League’s Bill Salonen Cup.

The Dudley-Hewitt Cup winner will then advance to represent the Central region at the Canadian national Jr. A event, May 11-19 in Brooks, Alta.

At the nationals, the host Brooks Bandits (AJHL) will go up against the Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion, the titleist from the Fred Page Cup (East) as well as the winners from both the ANAVET Cup (MJHL/SJHL) and the Doyle Cup (AJHL/BCHL).

The following is the NOJHL playoff format and timeline:

NOJHL playoff format/Timeline

Round 1 (Divisional Quarter-finals)
March 8-13
Best-of-three series
No. 4 East vs. No. 5 East
No. 4 West vs. No. 5 West

Round 2 (Divisional Semifinals)
March 15-27
No. 1 East vs. East 1st Round Winner
No. 2 East vs. No. 3 East
No. 1 West (Soo Thunderbirds) vs. West 1st Round Winner
No. 2 West vs. No. 3 West

Round 3 (Divisional Finals)
March 29-April 10
Best-of-seven series
East Division semifinal winners
West Division semifinal winners

Round 4 (Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy NOJHL Championship Final)
April 12-24
Best-of-seven series
East Division winner vs. West Division winner
NOJHL champion advances to Dudley-Hewitt Cup

Dudley-Hewitt Cup (Central Canadian Jr. A Championship)
April 30-May 4
Cochrane, Ont.
Competing teams
Cochrane Crunch (NOJHL) (Host)
NOJHL champion or finalist*
OJHL champion
SIJHL champion
DHC winner advances to Canadian National Junior A Championship
* Should Cochrane win the NOJHL championship, then the league finalist will also advance to the DHC

Canadian National Jr. A Championship
May 11-19
Brooks, Alta.
Competing teams
Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (Host)
Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion (Central)
Fred Page Cup champion (East)
ANAVET Cup champion (MJHL/SJHL)
Doyle Cup champion (AJHL/BCHL)