SUDBURY – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League held meetings at Laurentian Lodge in Elliot Lake over the weekend with a plethora of news items coming about from the two-day event.
The following is a summary on some of the items that were agreed upon:
WELCOME ABOARD: The NOJHL executive board unanimously approved the addition of a franchise that will be based in Espanola in time for the 2013-14 season.
With Espanola coming on board and joining the league it increases the number of clubs who will play in the NOJHL this season to eight.|
A further announcement on the team name and other pertinent facts on the NOJHL’s newest organization will made in the coming days.
PRESEASON: Highlighting preseason play in the NOJHL this year will be a five-team Exhibition Showcase in Elliot Lake Aug. 30-31 through Sept. 1-2.
Joining the hometown Bobcats at Centennial Arena on Labour Day weekend will be the defending NOJHL champion North Bay Trappers along with the Soo Thunderbirds, Blind River Beavers and the newly minted Espanola franchise.
Further information, including a complete game schedule, will be announced once finalized.
REGULAR SEASON: With an eight-team league in 2013-14, it was determined that the NOJHL will play a balanced 56-game schedule with each side taking on their respective opponents a total of eight times apiece, four at home and four away.
Regular season action in the NOJHL will commence Sept. 4 with the Abitibi Eskimos visiting McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff to take on the Sudbury Nickel Barons.
The regular season is set to conclude on March 9.
Overtime in regular season action will remain the same as 2012-13.
If knotted after 60 minutes both clubs will receive one point and the two sides will then play a five-minute, sudden victory, OT session with each team skating four players aside. If still tied after the first OT, the two team teams will play a second five-minute, sudden victory, OT round with the clubs going three skaters aside.
The winner, who scores in either the first or second OT will pick-up an additional point for the victory.
Should the game remain tied after that, the contest will conclude with each team gaining a point in the league standings.
A complete season schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.
NOJHL SHOWCASE: The NOJHL is slated to host a league Showcase Weekend Jan. 10-12 in Espanola.
Complete details on this event will be announced once they are finalized.
CENTRAL CANADA CUP: For the second time in three years the NOJHL will be sending an all-star team that will compete in the Central Canada Cup Challenge Dec. 27-29 in Terrebonne, Que.
There the NOJHLers will go up against similar all-star squads from the Maritime, Quebec, Central Canada and Ontario Jr. Hockey Leagues.
PROSPECTS: The NOJHL will host a series of Prospects Camps in various locales throughout 2013-14.
Dates and times along with further information on these events will be announced in the coming days and weeks.
POSTSEASON: Playoff action in the NOJHL is slated to get underway on March 14 of 2014.
All eight clubs will qualify for the postseason with the No. 1 seed meeting No. 8 overall, No. 2 taking on No. 7, No. 3 squaring off against No. 6 and No. 4 tangling with No. 5.
The highest remaining seed will then meet the lowest surviving seed in one semifinal match-up with the other two remaining squads meeting in the other.
From there the two clubs still in contention will square off in the NOJHL championship series with the victor moving on the represent the league at the 2014 Dudley-Hewitt Cup, which will be hosted by the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
Overtime in each NOJHL postseason contest will feature 20-minute sudden victory period be played until a winner is determined with the ice being resurfaced after each period as required.
Each playoff series will be best-of-seven affairs.
TECHNICAL/EDUCATIONAL DIRECTOR: The NOJHL will be making an announcement in the coming days on the appointment of a new technical and educational director for the league who will assist in overseeing league and player development in such areas as educational services, prospect camps and showcase events.
SWEET 16: The NOJHL has received approval from both the Northern Ontario Hockey Association and the Ontario Hockey Federation for teams to add an additional number of 16-year-old players should other clubs do not sign the two that are available to them.
In all, the NOJHL will be allowed to have a total of 16, 16-year-old players in the league, with member clubs allowed a maximum of four, only if the spots are unused by other member teams.
OFFICIATING: The NOJHL is pleased to announce retired NHL linesman Dan McCourt, currently Officiating Manager with the NHL, has officially joined the league’s officiating program as a Special Assistant to the Commissioner.
He will continue to assist director of officiating Glen Campbell in the continued development of the program.
McCourt, who spent 25 years in the NHL as a linesman, working over 1,700 games, was able to supervise, monitor and provide mentorship to NOJHL officials last season during the NHL lockout and will continue to be instrumental to the NOJHL in developing the officiating program.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)