The Dryden GM Ice Dogs play their first game of the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL) playoffs tomorrow (Tuesday, March 29, 2022) night against the Fort Frances Lakers, but the winner of the playdowns won't be crowned the Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion.
Last week, Hockey Canada, the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), and the SIJHL announced a revised format for the Centennial Cup national championship tournament and the qualification requirements for entry into the tournament.
Meaning the Dudley-Hewitt Cup won't be contested year. The winner of the SIJHL playoffs will head to Estevan, Saskatchewan in May to compete for the Centennial Cup, which was once called the RBC Cup.
The winner of the SIJHL playoffs will be joined by the playoff champions of the other eight CJHL member leagues, plus the host Estevan Bruins of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
In a prepared release, Hockey Canada, the CJHL, and the SIJHL say, "The change was necessitated largely as a result of the January pause to schedules that occurred in Ontario as well as challenges the eastern leagues endured with their schedule as a result of public health restrictions."
"With the lost time, and leagues prioritizing completion of their own regular season and full playoff schedules, multiple leagues were indicating the impossibility of finishing their playoffs in time to send a champion to the various CJHL regionals."
In a social media post the Red Lake Miners - who were scheduled to host the 2022 Dudley-Hewitt Cup - said, "we are disappointed for the Municipality Of Red Lake for not being able to host this prestigious event and the negative economic impact this will cause in our community, our players, staff and their families who were looking forward to this all year and to the volunteers that dedicated countless hours towards this event."
The Red Lake Miners will have the first right-of-refusal to host the Dudley-Hewitt Cup in May of 2023
“If there’s one disappointment to come from this, the postponement of the Dudley-Hewitt Cup in Red Lake is it," said SIJHL Commissioner Darrin Nicholas.
"They’re a proud community and were looking forward to showcasing it by hosting such a prestigious event. The fact that they even stepped up to tackle an event of this magnitude still in the throes of the pandemic speaks volumes about the type of people involved and their belief in Red Lake. The whole host committee is owed a debt of gratitude for the work they’ve put in to try and make this a reality," added Commissioner Nicholas.
The Dryden GM Ice Dogs host the Fort Frances Laker tomorrow (Tuesday, March 29, 2022) at 7:30 p.m. at the Dryden Memorial Arena in the first game of the best-of-five series.
Below is the first-round schedule for the Dryden GM Ice Dogs.
GAME 1: Tuesday, March 29th, 2022 730pm Dryden Memorial Arena
GAME 2: Thursday, March 31st, 2022 730pm Dryden Memorial Arena
GAME 3: Friday, April 1st, 2022 730pm Ice For Kids Arena
GAME 4: Saturday, April 2nd, 2022 730pm Ice For Kids Arena ***if necessary
GAME 5: Monday, April 4th, 2022 730pm Dryden Memorial Arena ***if necessary