SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Thursday the game schedule for the upcoming seven-game series between the Blind River Beavers and Soo Thunderbirds.
Dubbed by the teams as the COVID Cup, the two NOJHL sides will play a seven-game set beginning Sunday afternoon in a 2 p.m. start at John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
While regular league scoring practices will be applied for each contest, the two teams have also come up with some additional options that are sure to keep each match-up interesting.
As part of their COVID Cup point system, winner of each game will be awarded the traditional two points for a win while a shootout loser would receive one point.
Also, each period winner will receive one-half point with the overall totals being tabulated at series end and the squad with the most overall points will be awarded the trophy.
There will also be MVP and team awards doled out following the event’s conclusion.
In 10 earlier meetings this season, each club had five victories apiece.
“We at the NOJHL applaud both organizations for showing tremendous initiative in making this upcoming series something extra to play for,” stated league commissioner Robert Mazzuca.
“Despite everyone’s best efforts throughout to have all our member clubs on the ice and competing, the unfortunate realities of COVID-19 made that next to impossible,” provided Mazzuca.
For their parts, the respective head coach of each team look forward to the competition.
“I’m happy that we were able to come up with a competitive way to end our season series,” offered Blind River bench boss Kyle Brick.
“It’s no secret that our teams have been rivals for quite some time now and there is definitely no love lost between the two teams,” added Brick, who is also the Beavers’ general manager.
“We’re definitely looking forward to this new challenge. This season has been an interesting one for sure and I have to give credit to the players in the league who stuck it out and battled through the uncertainty.”
The Soo’s Denny Lambert echoed the sentiments of Brick.
“After an unprecedented season, on and off the ice, we’re happy to still be competing against Blind River. Algoma Public Health, along with the NOJHL, have done an amazing job making sure the players, staff, families, and billet families followed rules and regulations to be sure that they would have an opportunity to play. Both teams have played hard against one another this year and we’re looking forward to playing seven more.”
NOJHL commissioner Mazzuca summarized today’s news: “Both the Beavers and Thunderbirds organizations have shown great resourcefulness in making every period of every game in this upcoming series something to play for. Well done to both clubs. It will be great to watch.”
Each of the seven match-ups can be viewed online at HockeyTV.com.
Blind River Beavers – Soo Thunderbirds
Game 1: Sunday, March 14 @ Soo 2 p.m. (John Rhodes)
Game 2: Thursday, March 18 @ Soo 7 p.m. (John Rhodes)
Game 3: Saturday, March 20 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Community Centre)
Game 4: Sunday, March 21 @ Blind River 4 p.m. (Community Centre)
Game 5: Thursday, March 25 @ Soo 7 p.m. (John Rhodes)
Game 6: Saturday, March 27 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Community Centre)
Game 7: Sunday, March 28 @ Soo 2 p.m. (John Rhodes)