NOJHL releases its 2017 preseason schedule

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SUDBURY – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Monday its 2017 preseason schedule.

There are currently 21 contests on the exhibition slate with game action set to begin on Tuesday, Aug. 29 as the French River Rapids host the Espanola Express at 7:30 p.m. at Noelville Arena in the first of a home-and-home set between the two sides.

Two more tilts are scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 30 as the newly minted Hearst Lumberjacks entertain the Cochrane Crunch at Claude Larose Arena while the defending NOJHL champion Powassan Voodoos travel to Noelville to meet French River in a pair of 7 p.m. starts.

Among the four contests scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 31 it has the Voodoos welcoming the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League to the Powassan Sportsplex for a 2 p.m. matinee.

That same day, Hearst heads to Timmins to meet the Rock at 7 p.m. while the Rapids and Express square off at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex and the Elliot Lake Wildcats visit Blind River to face-off against the Beavers with both of those match-ups set for 7:30 p.m.

Included in the remaining preseason schedule will be the 2nd Annual Polar Bear Classic hosted by the Cochrane Crunch.

That three-day event goes Sept. 1-3 at both the Tim Horton Event Centre in Cochrane and Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls.

Joining the host Crunch will be Kingston of the OJHL along with Espanola and the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.

The Polar Bear Classic will also feature a AAA midget division this year as the Timmins Majors, Kapuskasing Flyers, Rouyn-Noranda Citadelle and the Soo Thunderbirds midget side all vying for the title.

Other NOJHL exhibition contests include French River at Powassan at 2 p.m., Blind River off to Elliot Lake at 7 p.m. and the cross-border rival Soo Eagles hosting the Soo Thunderbirds at Pullar Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 1.

The Eagles and Thunderbirds will meet again in Michigan on Sept. 2 while the preseason will conclude Sunday, Sept. 3 with the semifinals and championship game of the Polar Bear Classic along with the Lumberjacks entertaining the Rock in a 7 p.m. start in Hearst.

Any additional NOJHL exhibition games will be announced when and if they are determined.

The following is the 2017 NOJHL preseason schedule: (Dates and times subject to change)

Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League
2017 Preseason Schedule (As of Aug. 14)
Dates/Times subject to change
GM DATE VISITOR HOME TIME VENUE
1 Tuesday, Aug. 29 Espanola Express French River Rapids 7:30 p.m. Noelville Arena
2 Wednesday, Aug. 30 Cochrane Crunch Hearst Lumberjacks 7 p.m. Claude Larose Arena
3 Wednesday, Aug. 30 Powassan Voodoos French River Rapids 7 p.m. Noelville Arena
4 Thursday, Aug. 31 Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) Powassan Voodoos 2 p.m. Powassan Sportsplex
5 Thursday, Aug. 31 Hearst Lumberjacks Timmins Rock 7 p.m. McIntyre Arena
6 Thursday, Aug. 31 French River Rapids Espanola Express 7:30 p.m. Regional Recreation Complex
7 Thursday, Aug. 31 Elliot Lake Wildcats Blind River Beavers 7:30 p.m. Blind River Community Centre
8 Friday, Sept. 1 French River Rapids Powassan Voodoos 2 p.m. Powassan Sportsplex
9* Friday, Sept. 1 Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 4 p.m. Tim Horton Event Centre
10 Friday, Sept. 1 Blind River Beavers Elliot Lake Wildcats 7 p.m. Centennial Arena
11 Friday, Sept. 1 Soo Thunderbirds Soo Eagles 7:30 p.m. Pullar Stadium
12* Friday, Sept. 1 Espanola Express Cochrane Crunch 8 p.m. Tim Horton Event Centre
13* Saturday, Sept. 2 Cochrane Crunch Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 12 p.m. Jus Jordan Arena
14* Saturday, Sept. 2 Espanola Express Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) 12 p.m. Tim Horton Event Centre
15 Saturday, Sept. 2 Soo Thunderbirds Soo Eagles 7:30 p.m. Pullar Stadium
16* Saturday, Sept. 2 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners Espanola Express 8 p.m. Jus Jordan Arena
17* Saturday, Sept. 2 Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) Cochrane Crunch 8 p.m. Tim Horton Event Centre
18* Sunday, Sept. 3 PBC 4th Round Robin PBC 1st Round Robin 12 p.m. Jus Jordan Arena
19* Sunday, Sept. 3 PBC 3rd Round Robin PBC 2nd Round Robin 12 p.m. Tim Horton Event Centre
20* Sunday, Sept. 3 PBC Semifinal Winner PBC Semifinal Winner 7 p.m. Tim Horton Event Centre
21 Sunday, Sept. 3 Timmins Rock Hearst Lumberjacks 7 p.m. Claude Larose Arena
* – Polar Bear Classic at Cochrane and Iroquois Falls
Polar Bear Classic AAA Midget Division Schedule
GM DATE VISITOR HOME TIME VENUE
1 Friday, Sept. 1 Rouyn-Noranda Citadelle Timmins Majors 2 p.m. Tim Horton Event Centre
2 Friday, Sept. 1 Soo Thunderbirds Kapuskasing Flyers 6 p.m. Tim Horton Event Centre
3 Saturday, Sept. 2 Kapuskasing Flyers Timmins Majors 10 a.m. Jus Jordan Arena
4 Saturday, Sept. 2 Soo Thunderbirds Rouyn-Noranda Citadelle 10 a.m. Tim Horton Event Centre
5 Saturday, Sept. 2 Timmins Majors Soo Thunderbirds 6 p.m. Jus Jordan Arena
6 Saturday, Sept. 2 Rouyn-Noranda Citadelle Kapuskasing Flyers 6 p.m. Tim Horton Event Centre
7 Sunday, Sept. 3 PBC 4th Round Robin PBC 1st Round Robin 10 a.m. Jus Jordan Arena
8 Sunday, Sept. 3 PBC 3rd Round Robin PBC 2nd Round Robin 10 a.m. Tim Horton Event Centre
9 Sunday, Sept. 3 PBC Semifinal Winner PBC Semifinal Winner 5 p.m. Tim Horton Event Centre