SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Wednesday its plans for the upcoming 2021-22 season.
All of the dates remain tentative however, pending approval on a return to play from provincial, regional and municipal health authorities as it relates to COVID-19 restrictions and regulations.
The NOJHL expects to have a 56-game regular season, which is projected to commence on Thursday, September 16 and conclude on Sunday, March 13.
All of the league member clubs are slated to play 27 games at home and another 27 as the visiting side.
Each teams remaining two match-ups are scheduled for the NOJHL Showcase.
That event is presently planned to be held during the second week of January at a yet to be determined venue.
INTER-DIVISION GAMES: Given the current unknowns regarding COVID-19, teams will play within their own division ONLY until the Christmas break.
All inter-divisional games will be played in the New Year, which will allow the NOJHL flexibility to reschedule regular season contests if required.
Upon completion of the regular season, the Top 5 teams in each division will advance to the playoffs.
Postseason dates are currently scheduled as follows:
March 15-20: Divisional elimination series (No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed) Best-of-three
March 22 – April 3: Divisional semifinals (No. 1 vs. elimination series winner & No. 2 vs. No. 3) Best-of-seven
April 5-17: Divisional finals (Series winners) Best-of-seven
April 19 – May 3: NOJHL Final (Division winners) Best-of-seven
May 10-14: Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship (Hosted by SIJHL)
May 20-29: Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons (Estevan, Sask.)
LEAGUE APPOINTMENT: The NOJHL also announced Wednesday the appointment of Dr. Tim Rindlisbacher as its Chief Medical Officer, effective immediately.
Dr. Rindlisbacher is a Sports Medicine Physician, based is Toronto, who also currently serves as the CMO with the Ontario Hockey Federation and as a consultant to the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
As part of his duties with the NOJHL, he will assist in acting as a liaison in coordinating with the provincial government, and the league’s member teams, in developing a safe return-to-play plan for the 2021-22 campaign.
“Dr. Rindlisbacher is a well-respected and highly regarded physician, whose knowledge and guidance in working with the provincial government and sport groups in such matters as COVID-19 policies is highly beneficial,” stated NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca.
“His contributions will be of great assistance to our league as we all work towards safely returning to the ice in the not too distant future,” added Mazzuca.
Further announcements on the NOJHL’s 2021-22 season will be announced in the coming days and weeks.