NOJHL announces 2018 playoff format/timeline

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

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

Round 1 action will run from March 9-14 and features the No. 4 and No. 5 seeded squads in each division competing in a best-of-three series with the respective winners moving on to the divisional semifinals.

Next up in Round 2, which will run from March 16-28, features four best-of-seven series.

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

It will be the same format in the NOJHL West with the No. 1 side 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 30-April 11 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 13-25.

The NOJHL champion will then advance to the 2018 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Junior A championship May 1-5, which will be hosted by the Dryden GM Ice Dogs of the Superior International Junior Hockey League.

Joining the NOJHL winner and host GM Ice Dogs at the five-day event will be the title holders of the OJHL’s Buckland Cup and the SIJHL’s Bill Salonen Cup.

Should the defending SIJHL champions from Dryden also prevail as that league’s winner, then their finalist will also compete in the DHC.

The Dudley-Hewitt Cup winner will then advance to represent the Central region at the RBC Cup Canadian national Jr. A event, May 12-20 in Chilliwack, B.C.

At the RBC, the host Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) 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 9-14
Best-of-three series
No. 4 East vs. No. 5 East
No. 4 West vs. No. 5 West

Round 2 (Divisional Semifinals)
March 16-28
No. 1 East vs. East 1st Round Winner
No. 2 East vs. No. 3 East
No. 1 West vs. West 1st Round Winner
No. 2 West vs. No. 3 West

Round 3 (Divisional Finals)
March 30-April 11
Best-of-seven series
East Division semifinal winners
West Division semifinal winners

Round 4 (Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy NOJHL Championship Final)
April 13-25
Best-of-seven series
East Division winner vs. West Division winner
NOJHL champion advances to Dudley-Hewitt Cup

Dudley-Hewitt Cup (Central Canada Jr. A Championship)
May 1-5
Dryden, Ont.
Competing teams
Dryden GM Ice Dogs (SIJHL) (Host)
NOJHL champion
OJHL champion
SIJHL champion or finalist*
DHC winner advances to RBC Cup
* Should Dryden win the SIJHL championship, then that league finalist also advances to the DHC

RBC Cup (Canadian Jr. A Championship)
May 12-20
Chilliwack, B.C.
Competing teams
Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) (Host)
Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion (Central)
Fred Page Cup champion (East)
ANAVET Cup champions (MJHL/SJHL)
Doyle Cup (AJHL/BCHL)