NOJHL announces 2020 playoff format/timeline

SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Wednesday the format and timeline for the upcoming 2020 NOJHL playoffs and the quest for the Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy NOJHL championship.

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 4-8 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.

In the East the No. 4 seed will meet the No. 5 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners while in the West, No. 4 will go up against the No. 5 Espanola Express.

Next up in Round 2, which is slated to be held from March 11-23, 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 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 25-April 6 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 9-21.

The NOJHL champion will then advance to the 2020 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Junior A championship, April 28 – May 2, which will be hosted by the Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL).

Joining Fort Frances and the NOJHL winner 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 Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, May 9-17 in Portage la Prairie, Man.

At the nationals, the host Portage Terriers (MJHL) 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:

Round 1 (Divisional Quarter-finals)
March 4-8
Best-of-three series
No. 4 East vs. No. 5 East (Kirkland Lake Gold Miners)
No. 4 West vs. No. 5 West (Espanola Express)

Round 2 (Divisional Semifinals)
March 11-23
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 25-April 6
Best-of-seven series
East Division semifinal winners
West Division semifinal winners

Round 4 (Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy NOJHL Championship Final)
April 9-21
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 28-May 2
Fort Frances, Ont.
Competing teams
NOJHL champion
OJHL champion
SIJHL champion
Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (Host)

DHC winner advances to Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, Canadian National Junior A Championship

Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, Canadian National Jr. A Championship
May 9-17
Portage la Prairie, Man.
Competing teams
Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion (Central)
Fred Page Cup champion (East)
ANAVET Cup champion (MJHL/SJHL)
Doyle Cup champion (AJHL/BCHL)
Portage Terriers (MJHL) (Host)