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SIJHL expansion among topics discussed

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The Superior International Junior Hockey League announced Saturday a number of the key topics discussed and finalized during its annual general meeting held last week.

Among the items on the agenda, the SIJHL Board of Governors received updates and discussed potential upcoming league expansion in both Canada and the U.S. for the 2019-20 season and beyond.

Talks also were held in regard to ongoing negotiations with corporate partnerships with the SIJHL, as well as new marketing strategies.

There were updates on two new programs being adopted for the 2018-19 season, with Stack Sports and its game video editing system, along with HeadCheck Health—a new program being instituted for player concussion protocol throughout the Canadian Junior Hockey League.

Further discussions were held on the SIJHL's all-star game and “Showcase,” with the locations of both events set to be announced in the coming weeks.

Among the changes passed by the SIJHL's member clubs was an alteration to the league's regular-season tie-breaker system.

The final regular-season standings and subsequent seeding for the playoffs now will be as follows: 1. Total wins 2. Regulation wins 3. Head-to-head matchup 4. Goals for and against differential 5. Fewest penalty minutes.

It also was confirmed that the league's playoff format will remain the same as the 2017-18 season.

This will see the top two teams in the standings receiving first-round byes while the third-place squad will meet the sixth-place team and the No. 4 seed will take on the No. 5-ranked club in a pair of best-of-five quarter-final series.

Those are scheduled to be held from March 19-26.

From there, all the remaining series will be best-of-seven affairs.

Semi-final action will see the first-place squad taking on the lowest-ranked surviving team in one series while the other will have the No. 2 seed meeting the other quarter-final winner.

SIJHL semi-final play is expected to run from March 27-April 8.

The two semi-final winners then will square off in the Bill Salonen Cup league championship series between April 10-23.

Awaiting the SIJHL champion will be a berth to the 2019 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. 'A' Championship from April 30-May 4 in Cochrane.

Taking part in that four-team event with the SIJHL winner will be the titleists of both the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and Ontario Junior Hockey League, as well as the host Cochrane Crunch (NOJHL).

Should Cochrane go on to win the NOJHL title, then that league finalist also will compete in the Dudley-Hewitt Cup.

The DHC champion then will advance to represent the region at Canadian Jr. 'A' Championship from May 11-19 in Brooks, Alta.

The SIJHL's regular season is set to begin Sept. 20.

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