NOTEBOOK: NOJHL schedule for Central Canada Cup Challenge finalized


Release Date: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013
NOTEBOOK: NOJHL schedule for Central Canada Cup Challenge finalized

SUDBURY – A month away from the Central Canada Cup Challenge in Terrebonne, Que. the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League has finalized its game schedule for the three-day event that will feature competing clubs from the Ontario Junior Hockey League, Central Canada Hockey League and the Quebec AAA Jr. A loop also taking part.

Each of the six participating teams will play a five-game round robin with the length of games being two 20-minute periods.

After round robin competition the top two squads in the standings will compete in the Central Canada Cup Challenge championship contest on Dec. 29.

The NOJHL will open up competition Friday, Dec. 27 at 1 p.m. against one of the two LHJAAAQ squads that will be taking part.

Their second game of the day goes at 5 p.m. as they square off vs. the CCHL.

Saturday, Dec. 28 sees two more tilts on tap for the NOJHL as they’ll meet the second LHJAAAQ side at 1 p.m., which will be followed by a 5 p.m. face-off with the OJHL North East.

Round robin play for the NOJHL then concludes Sunday, Dec. 29 at 11 a.m. when they square off with OJHL South West.

The top two teams will then met in the championship game later that same day at 5:30 p.m.

Of the teams taking part there will be one apiece from both the NOJHL and CCHL along with two from Quebec and the OJHL.

Serving as director of operations for Team NOJHL will be Oscar Clouthier (Sudbury) while Marc Lafleur (Kirkland Lake) is the head coach. Assistant coaches will be Jordan Smith (Sault Ste. Marie), Trevor Blanchard (Sudbury) and Zane Neily. (North Bay)

The NOJHL roster that will be competing in the event is expected to be announced next week.

GAME TIME: Weekly action in the NOJHL gets underway this evening at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff as the Sudbury Nickel Barons entertain the Blind River Beavers at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday sees the Beavers on the road again as they pay a visit to Sault Ste. Marie to take on the league-leading Thunderbirds in a 7:30 p.m. start at Essar Centre.

Friday has Sudbury back at it as they travel to Kirkland Lake to take on the home town Gold Miners at “The Joe” with face-off there set for 7:30 p.m.

A trio of 7:30 p.m. tilts Saturday has the Thunderbirds in Elliot Lake, in a game that was originally schedule to be played Friday, while North Bay visits Blind River and Sudbury heads to Iroquois Falls to tangle with the Abitibi Eskimos.

CJHL TOP 20: The latest Canadian Junior Hockey League top 20 rankings released Monday had the two NOJHL clubs maintain their hold in the listings.

The Soo Thunderbirds were once again tabbed fifth overall nationally while the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners held on to the No. 14 rating in the listings for the 128-team CJHL, which are prepared in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting.

Sault Ste. Marie presently holds down first place in the NOJHL standings with 44 points on a 21-4-0-2 overall record.

Two points in arrears, but also holding two games in hand, are the Gold Miners as their 42 points on the season comes with a 20-3-0-2 mark.

The Alberta Jr. Hockey League boasts the top two in the rankings this week with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons holding steady at No. 1 and the Spruce Grove Saints coming in at No. 2.

Rounding out the top five were the Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) and the Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) at No. 3 and No. 4 respectively.


1.  Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (1)
2.  Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (3)
3.  Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL) (6)
4.  Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (2)
5.  Soo Thunderbirds (NOHL) (5)
6.  Powell River Kings (BCHL) (4)
7.  Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (9)
8.  Yorkton Terriers (SJHL) (15)
9.  Portage Terriers (MJHL) (8)
10. Weeks Crushers (MHL) (11)
11. Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (OJHL) (12)
12. Selkirk Steelers (MJHL) (13)
13. Pembroke Lumber Kings (CCHL) (HM)
14. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) (14)
15. Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (16)
16. Aurora Tigers (OJHL) (NR)
17. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (17)   
18. Dieppe Commandos (MHL) (19)
19. Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) (HM)
20. Les Pantheres de Saint Jerome (LHJAAAQ) (NR)

Honourable Mention: Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL), Brooks Bandits (AJHL), Humboldt Broncos (SJHL), Coburg Cougars (OJHL), Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)


The CJHL Top 20 weekly rankings are based upon a variety of factors, including the league in which the team plays, winning percentage, win-loss record, total points accumulated, goals-for versus goals-against ratio, etc.


The Canadian Junior Hockey League is a national organization comprised of all 10 Junior A hockey leagues in Canada. 

The CJHL represents 128 teams and over 2,500 players and has over 2,800 alumni furthering their hockey careers at the professional, major junior and college level across North America. 

For latest CJHL news and features, visit and follow us on Twitter at or @cjhlhockey.

NOJHL 3 STARS: The NOJHL 3 Stars for the period running Nov. 18-24 were forwards Darcy Haines of the Soo Thunderbirds and Brennen Dubchak of the Espanola Rivermen along with defenceman Khadyn Butterfly of the Sudbury Nickel Barons.

DARCY HAINES, (F) SOO THUNDERBIRDS – In two games last week the 20-year-old forward played a pivotal role in helping the Thunderbirds skate to victories in both of them and move back into sole possession of first place in the league standings.

The 2012-13 NOJHL most valuable player began by dishing out three assists including setting up the deciding tally in a 7-1 romp over Elliot Lake Saturday.

Then on Sunday afternoon Haines buried the game-winner and added a helper as Sault Ste. Marie stormed back from a two-goal deficit to defeat Kirkland Lake 6-2 in a showdown between the top two clubs in the overall standings.

In four games since being acquired by the Thunderbirds from Pembroke of the CCHL, Haines has points in all of them registering a trio of tallies along with six helpers.

BRENNEN DUBCHAK, (F) ESPANOLA RIVERMEN – A five-point week for the 20-year-old Kenora, Ont., native aided Espanola as they skated to a pair of victories in as many outings.

In his opening contest Friday Dubchak assisted on the tying goal and then wired home the winner in double overtime as the Rivermen edged the Gold Miners 2-1.

He followed that up Sunday by setting up the eventual game-winner and adding two more helpers on top of that as Espanola skated past Blind River 7-2.

Dubchak’s offensive outburst allowed him to take over the NOJHL scoring lead with 44 points in 27 games while also extending a consecutive game point streak to 10 straight outings. He has amassed five goals and 17 assists in that span.

KHADYN BUTTERFLY, (D) SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – Taking to the ice twice during the week that was the 18-year-old Moosenee, Ont., product picked up three points helping the Nickel Barons pick-up three out of four points in the standings.

He began with a goal and an assist in a 4-3 overtime setback to Elliot Lake this past Wednesday.

Butterfly then followed that up with another assist Saturday evening as Sudbury defeated Abitibi 4-2.

His efforts last week also allowed him to extend a point streak to eight consecutive games, which is currently tops among NOJHL defencemen.

Overall the Nickel Barons blueliner is currently second in both goals and points among league rearguards with six and 18 respectively.

ONLINE ACTION: Each and every NOJHL game this season is available online on a pay-per-view basis via FASTHockey.

Fans can view the games through the FASTHockey link on the league website at

NOJHL SHOWCASE: The NOJHL is slated to host a league Showcase Weekend Jan. 10-11 in Espanola.

A total of four league regular season games, which will count in the NOJHL standings, will be played at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.

The goal is to further showcase the players of the NOJHL in one location to further assist NCAA, CIS, CHL and NHL scouts allowing them access to all league members clubs in one venue.


Friday, Jan. 10
Elliot Lake vs. Espanola 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 12
Kirkland Lake vs. Blind River 1:30 p.m.
Abitibi vs. Soo 4:15 p.m.
Sudbury vs. North Bay 7:15 p.m.

DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP: The NOJHL champion will move on to represent the league at the 2014 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A Championship.

That four-team event will be hosted by the OJHL’s Wellington Dukes and will run April 29 – May 3 at the Essroc Arena in the Wellington and District Community Centre.

ROYAL BANK CUP: The DHC title holder will then move on to represent the region at the 2014 RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship with that tournament being hosted by the BCHL’s Vernon Lakers May 10-18 in Vernon, B.C.


ABITIBI ESKIMOS – The Eskimos have one game on the slate this week and it will be at home Saturday vs. Sudbury as they look to extend a winning streak at home. …  Abitibi has won seven games in a row on Jus Jordan Arena ice and eight in succession as the home team, which includes a Nov. 15 victory in Timmins. … Brady Clouthier continues to be one of the top point producers in the league. His 36 points currently tops the team and also puts him sixth overall in the entire NOJHL. Clouthier is also tied for second in game-winning goals with five and is fifth overall in assists with 19. … Ryan Tront is averaging a point-per-game with the Eskis with 25 in as many outings to sit second on the squad offensively. … Goaltender Sylvain Miron has played the second most minutes (965:21) and has faced the second most shots (621) than any goalkeeper in the league.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Slumping Blind River will look to get back on track tonight as they take on Sudbury. … They are also in Sault Ste. Marie Thursday and at home to North Bay Saturday. … The Beavers have gone winless in 13 straight outings and only have one win in their past 21 games after having started the season at 3-2.  … Their last win came Oct. 16 at Sudbury, a 6-5 overtime decision thanks to a Scott Marshall tally in OT. … Tyson MacLeod has points in four of his past five contests. His 18 points in 22 games leads the club. … Blind River has allowed a league-high 135 goals against and have scored the fewest goals for at 54.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The Bobcats enter play this week fourth in the NOJHL standings with a 13-9-0-3 record. … The club has gone a solid 7-3 in their past 10 outings. … Their lone contest of the week goes Saturday as they entertain Sault Ste. Marie at Centennial Arena. … Brett Wagner continues to pace Elliot Lake offensively with 32 points. His 21 tallies also lead all skaters in the league. His four shorthanded markers are the most of anyone in the NOJHL. Wagner is also tied for fourth in game-winning goals with three. … He has points in nine of his past 11 contests. … Dustin Cordeiro is second on the squad in points with 24.

ESPANOLA RIVERMEN – Espanola remains third in the NOJHL standings with a 17-10 record. … They are the only one of the eight NOJHL teams without a loss in overtime to date. …  The Rivermen have a scored a league-high 109 goals on the season. … Winners of five of their past seven games Espanola is off until Dec. 4 when they travel to Elliot Lake to take on the Bobcats. After that six of their next eight games will be on home ice. … The club continues to get big production from the trio of Brennen Dubchak, Corbin Bean and Brandon Janke. Dubchak leads the NOJHL in scoring with 44 points, is second in goals (20), tied for second in assists (24) and second in power play goals. (6) … Bean is knotted for second in overall points (42), tied for third in tallies (18), shares second in assists (24), third in shorthanded markers (3) and leads the league in game-winning goals, (6) … As for Janke he’s fourth in points (41), shares third in goals (18) and is fourth in helpers. (23)

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – Kirkland Lake remained 14th in the CJHL national rankings once again this week. … With a 20-3-0-2 record the Gold Miners sit two points behind the Soo Thunderbirds in the race for top spot in the NOJHL standings. Kirkland Lake however does hold two games in hand on the T-Birds. … The team’s lone game of the week is Friday at home vs. Sudbury. … The Gold Miners boast the best winning percentage in the league at .840, which is currently the fourth best in the entire 128-team CJHL. … Steven Babin’s 42 points leads the team and ties him for second overall in the NOJHL. His 28 assists are the most of any player in the league. …Babin and Mathieu Lecompte’s five power play markers tie them for third in the NOJHL. Lecompte is also tied for third in shorthanded goals with two and knotted for fourth in game-winning tallies with three. … Kenny Fitzgerald sits fourth in goals-against average (2.36) and fifth in save percentage. (.909)

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – North Bay is sixth in the NOJHL standings with a 9-14-0-4 record. … The Trappers have one final game to wrap-up November as they head to Blind River Saturday. … Ryan Demyen continues to lead all NOJHL skaters in power play goals with seven. Demyen is also pacing the Trappers offensively averaging just under a point-per-game with 24 in 25 outings, including a team-high 14 goals. … Eric Champagne, who sits second on the squad in scoring with 18 points, has a modest three-game point streak on the go. … Dustin Hummel has played more minutes (971:23) and faced more shots (627) than any goaltender in the league.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds stayed in fifth spot in the CJHL weekly top 20 rankings. … Sault Ste. Marie has not lost on home ice so far in the 2013-13 campaign, having gone 13-0 to date and 16-0 dating back to last season. The 13 home wins in a row to start a season ties a team record set back in 2002. … They’ll look to set a new mark Thursday when they host Blind River at Essar Centre. … The club’s other game this week goes Saturday at Elliot Lake. …The T-Birds boast two skaters among the top 10 in NOJHL scoring. Captain Gavin Burbach is fifth in the league with 37 points in 27 games while Anthony Miller is tied for seventh with 32 … Burbach is tied for third in goals with 18 while Miller is tied for second in game-winning tallies with five. … The club leads the NOJHL in points with 44 and sit second in winning percentage at .815. That ties them for the seventh best win mark in the CJHL. … Netminder Joel Horodziejczyk tops all goaltenders in both goals-against average and save percentage at 1.67 and .936 respectively while winning his last 10 starts in the Soo net. He also leads the way in shutouts with two.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – With a 7-13-0-4 records the Nickel Barons sit seventh in the league standings with 18 points. …Sudbury takes to the ice three times this week starting tonight as they host Blind River at McClelland Arena as they look to extend a modest winning streak to two. From there they hit the road with stops in Kirkland Lake Friday and in Iroquois Falls Saturday against Abitibi. … August Jarecki is averaging a point-per-game for the Nickel Barons with 24 in as many contests. His offensive totals lead the team. … Ryan Punkari is next on the squad with 20 points followed by Khadyn Butterfly with 18. … Butterfly leads all NOJHL defencemen in power play tallies with five. He is also second in scoring among league blueliners and is currently riding an eight-game point streak. Of the past eight defeats Sudbury has endured, six of them have been by one goal. The other two were by just a pair of markers. … Seven of the Nickel Barons’ next 11 contests are on the road.