Newfoundland and Labrador’s senior men’s hockey champs will once again be determined by a best-of-seven series.
Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador announced the schedule for the 2018 Herder Memorial Championships on Tuesday.
The series will open in the home rink of the Central West League champion on Saturday, April 7 and Sunday, April 8.
The East Coast League will then host games three, four and five, if necessary, on April 13, 14 and 15.
needed, games six and seven will be played back in Central West on April 21 and 22.
In a news release, Hockey NL event chair Joe Maynard said returning to a best-of-seven series will make the competition more intense.
“We are into our third year with an East vs. Central West. The first year was a learning experience and last year the series went the distance. Now with an interlocking regular season and no imports from outside the province (with the exception of a goaltender), we expect fans will want to see more hockey come April,” he said.
The newly formed East Coast League championship team will be allowed to add three strengthening players from teams within their league when they meet up in the Herder series, as determined last week after delegates had the opportunity to consider the rosters and interlocking competition to date.
The Central West League teams consists of the first place Gander Flyers, Clarenville Caribous and the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts. These teams will play their games in their home rink during the Herder competition.
Central West League president Neil Norcott hopes to see fans come out for the event.
“The Herder is the pinnacle of senior hockey in NL. Players work all year to get the opportunity to participate in the Herder championships. This year is no exception and anticipation for this event is ramping up as we get closer to our league playoffs. We are excited to be able to plan a four-out-of-seven event this year and feel that fans should be in for a great entertaining series of hockey. Mark your calendars, you won’t want to miss this year’s Herder,” he said.
East Coast Senior Hockey president Jack Casey said his league is looking forward to the upcoming Herder championship, as well.
“This will be the third season that our teams have had the opportunity to play for the Herder, and with this season’s interlocking play we continue to learn how to compete at the provincial level,” he said.
Casey indicated a decision has yet to be made where the East Coast League champion will play its home games. It will be one of the rinks of a team participating in the league, however.
The league plans on making that decision and announcement in the coming weeks, with one of the determining factors based on allowing as many fans as possible to enjoy the series.
The St. John’s Caps are currently in first place in the league, followed by the Southern Shore Breakers, Northeast Eagles and Conception Bay Blues.
Information on ticket sales, broadcasting and time of games will be released as the championship approaches.