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NOJHL will release sked in June

Fans looking to pencil in the date of the first regular season clash between the Abitibi Eskimos and the Kirkland Lake Blue Devils on their calendar will have to wait a little while longer.

The Northern Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League announced during its annual general meeting in Iroquois Falls last weekend that it will be releasing its 2011-12 schedule in mid-June.

Each of the league’s seven teams will play an unbalanced 50-game regular season schedule.

Playoff formats, however, for the Eastern and Western Divisions will differ this season.

The Eastern Division, which features the Eskimos, Blue Devils, Sudbury Kal Tire Cubs and North Bay Trappers, will stick to the same playoff format used last season, with the first place team playing the fourth place team and the second place team playing the third place team.

In the Western Divsion, however, which features just three teams — Soo Eagles, Soo Thunderbirds and Blind River Beavers — a double round-robin format will be used to select the division champion.

A number of other decisions were announced at the meeting, as well, including:

• The board of directors has decided to expand the role of the commissioner’s office, and will be continuing its search for a replacement for retiring incumbent Hector Seguin.

Interested parties should contact the league office for additional information.

It is hoped the new commissioner will be in place prior to start of 2011-12 regular season.

Seguin will remain with the league as an administrative assistant.

• As reported in The Daily Press, the Temiscaming Royals franchise has been revoked effective May 15, 2011, and all the franchise’s players have been declared “free agents.”

• The NOJHL will implement a four-man official system for the 2011-12 season.

• The league has adopted the NHL format for penalties and icing.

• The board of directors has selected the Sudbury Kal Tire Cubs as the host for the 2013 Dudley Hewitt Cup. For more information visit www.sudburycubs. com or go to www.nojhl. com.