THUNDER BAY – It is now crunch time for the Thunder Bay Kings as they get set to compete in their respective branch and regional playdowns.
All four Kings’ clubs will be in action this week with the minor midget side travelling to Toronto for the Ontario Hockey League Cup while the major midget, bantam and peewee squads will take to the ice in the Hockey Northwestern Ontario branch championships, Friday through Sunday at Fort William First Nation Arena.
Game action for the minor midget Kings at the OHL Cup begins Wednesday as they take on the Brantford 99ers at 10:45 a.m., followed by an 8:45 p.m. encounter vs. the Toronto Jr. Canadiens.
The team’s lone contest Thursday will be against the winner of one of the Wild Card games, which will either be the Don Mills Flyers or Detroit Little Caesars at 1:45 p.m.
They’ll then square off with the Barrie Jr. Colts at 3 p.m. Friday in their final round-robin game.
Friday will also see the opening games of the HNO Districts with the peewees meeting the Dryden Paper Kings at 6 p.m. while the bantam Kings tangle with the Western Zone representative at 7:30 p.m. in the initial meetings of their best-of-three series.
Saturday has the same teams going at it in their respective Game 2’s as the peewee match-up begins at 3:30 p.m. followed by the bantam contest at 5 p.m.
Game 1 of the HNO AAA midget best-of-five affair goes Saturday at 7 p.m., also at FWFNA, as the major midget Kings take on the rival Kenora Thistles.
They will also tangle Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. before the series shifts to the Kenora Recreation Centre for Game 3, and if necessary Game 4 and 5, March 23-25.
Both teams will, however, compete in the TELUS Cup West Regional, April 5-8, at FWFNA along with the champions of the Manitoba and Saskatchewan AAA Midget Hockey Leagues vying for a berth to the TELUS Cup nationals, April 23-29, in Sudbury, Ont.
Should a third and deciding contest be required in the peewee and bantam district playdowns, they would be held Sunday at 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The HNO bantam winner will head to Orillia for the All-Ontario’s, April 2-6, while the peewee champion earns a trip to Essex, Ont., for that provincial event, which is slated for April 9-13.
Thunder Bay Kings
Branch, OHL Cup, TELUS Cup West Regional game schedule
All start times EST
Wednesday, March 14
Minor midget: vs. Brantford 10:45 a.m. (Toronto)
Minor midget: vs. Toronto Jr. Canadiens 8:45 p.m. (Toronto)
Thursday, March 15
Minor midget: vs. Don Mills or Detroit 1:45 p.m. (Toronto)
Friday, March 16
Minor midget: vs. Barrie 3 p.m. (Toronto)
Peewee: vs. Dryden 6 p.m. (FWFNA)
Bantam: vs. West 7:30 p.m. (FWFNA)
Saturday, March 17
Peewee: vs. Dryden 3:30 p.m. (FWFNA)
Bantam: vs. West 5 p.m. (FWFNA)
Major midget: vs. Kenora 7:30 p.m. (FWFNA)
Sunday, March 18
Major midget: vs. Kenora 12:30 p.m. (FWFNA)
Peewee*: vs. Dryden 3 p.m. (FWFNA)
Bantam*: vs. West 4:30 p.m. (FWFNA)
Friday, March 23
Major midget: @ Kenora 8:30 p.m. (Kenora Rec. Centre)
Saturday, March 24
Major midget*: @ Kenora 2:30 p.m. (Kenora Rec. Centre)
Sunday, March 25
Major midget*: Kenora 2:30 p.m. (Kenora Rec. Centre)
Bantam winner advances to All-Ontario championship, April 2-6, in Orillia, Ont.
Peewee winner advances to All-Ontario championship, April 9-13, in Essex, Ont.
TELUS Cup West Regional
All games at Fort William First Nation Arena
Thunder Bay major midget Kings (HOST-HNO)
Kenora Thistles (HNO)
Manitoba AAA midget champion (MAN)
Saskatchewan AAA midget champion (SASK)
Thursday, April 5
Kenora vs. Saskatchewan 5 p.m. (FWFNA)
Manitoba vs. Thunder Bay 8 p.m. (FWFNA)
Friday, April 6
Manitoba vs. Saskatchewan 3 p.m. (FWFNA)
Thunder Bay vs. Kenora 8 p.m. (FWFNA)
Saturday, April 7
Kenora vs. Manitoba 12 p.m. (FWFNA)
Saskatchewan vs. Thunder Bay 3 p.m. (FWFNA)
Sunday, April 8
Final: 2nd round robin vs. 1st round robin
Winner advances to TELUS Cup Canadian National Midget Championship, April 23-29, in Sudbury, Ont.