Dudley Hewitt Cup
The Dudley Hewitt Cup is a championship ice hockey trophy awarded to the Central Canadian Junior A Champion. The trophy is currently decided by round robin tournament format, at the conclusion of the playoffs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, and Superior International Junior Hockey League, to determine the central seed to the Royal Bank Cup. The Royal Bank Cup is the Canadian National Junior A Championship and is only competed for by teams within the Canadian Junior Hockey League.
The current format includes the champions of the OJHL, NOJHL, and SIJHL and a pre-selected host city, but in the past has included the champions of the Central Canada Hockey League, Quebec Junior Hockey League, and even the champion of the Callaghan Cup (Atlantic Provinces).
From 1984 until 1995 the Thunder Bay Flyers of the United States Hockey League competed for the Dudley Hewitt Cup, possibly the most successful competition in the event's history with 4 titles in 12 years.
The 2002 Dudley Hewitt Cup marked a new chapter in Ontario hockey history. Since the mid-1990s, the OPJHL and NOJHL had squared off in a head-to-head series to determine the Central Canadian seed in the Royal Bank Cup. In 2001, a new Thunder Bay-area league, called the Superior International Junior Hockey League, was founded. Late in the 2001-02 season of the OPJHL and NOJHL, the CJAHL informed them that instead of a series the Dudley would be competed for through a round robin format. The NOJHL and OPJHL decided to protest the new format by boycotting the Dudley Hewitt Cup, but without the OPJHL's governors knowledge, the heads of the NOJHL and SIJHL worked out a backroom deal that they would compete for the Cup without the OPJHL's involvement. The NOJHL's Rayside-Balfour Sabrecats swept SIJHL's Dryden Ice Dogs, while the OPJHL's Brampton Capitals sat at home with no avenue for advancement. The subterfuge by the NOJHL led to an agreement in 2003 to allow the championship to be played in a round robin style. Also, it marked the end of any dominance the NOJHL had at the interleague level as no NOJHL champion had won the DHC since 2002 until 2012.
The 2011 Dudley Hewitt Cup will make history of a different kind. For the first time at the interleague level, more than one American team will be in direct contention for the Central Canadian Crown. The 2011 round robin will feature the Wisconsin Wilderness of the Superior International Junior Hockey League and the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. In 1971, the Detroit Jr. Red Wings of the Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League lost the inaugural championship in six games to the Charlottetown Islanders. In 1973, the St. Paul Vulcans of the Can-Am Junior Hockey League were mowed down by the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the Central semi-final. In 2007, the Soo Indians of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League finished last in the round robin. At that point, no American team had made it to either the Centennial Cup or Royal Bank Cup round robin or final series. This changed on May 4, 2013 when the SIJHL's Minnesota Wilderness defeated the OJHL's St. Michael's Buzzers 4-3 in overtime to win the Dudley and gain entry into the 2013 Royal Bank Cup. Beforehand, the City of Sudbury and the Sudbury Cubs were slated to host the 2013 tournament, but was soon allocated to the City of North Bay and the North Bay Trappers because the Cubs owners backed out. The 2014 Dudley-Hewitt Cub saw its fourth all-Ontario Junior Hockey League Dudley-Hewitt Cup final between the Wellington Dukes and the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots. Toronto won 2-1 advancing to the Royal Bank Cup in Vernon, British Columbia leaving the hosts Wellington Dukes at home. The City of Sudbury and the Sudbury Nickel Barons were awarded the 2016 Dudley-Hewitt Cup, but in the spring of 2015 the city and the Nickel Barons backed out again, and as a result of the Sudbury Nickel Barons moving to Rayside-Balfour. The tournament has been awarded to Kirkland Lake, Ontario and the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners. The 2017 Dudley-Hewitt Cup will either be hosted by the Oakville Blades or the Trenton Golden Hawks - the only teams to submit bids to hosting the tournament. The City of Kenora and the potential Superior International Junior Hockey League franchise based in Kenora, has already submitted a bid to host the 2018 Dudley-Hewitt Cup. The Kenora SIJHL franchise was due to participate for the 2015-16 season, but failed to secure ice time.
The Trenton Golden Hawks became the 9th different OJHL team to win the Dudley-Hewitt Cup since 2003. The Aurora Tigers (2004 and 2007), Oakville Blades (2008 and 2010), and the Wellington Dukes (2003 and 2011) won the tournament twice. As of 2016, the Soo Thunderbirds appeared in their 6th tournament since 2004.
The Copeland-NcNamara Trophy champions of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Salonen Cup champion from the Superior International Junior Hockey League and the winner of the Ontario Hockey Association's Buckland Cup and the Ontario Junior Hockey League compete in a round robin hosted by a predetermined host team and city to determine the Central Canadian Champion.
The winner of the Dudley Hewitt Cup moves on to compete for the Royal Bank Cup Junior A national championship.
Hosts from the OJHL and NOJHL go through a selection process with teams and centres bidding on the job of host. The SIJHL chooses their host by giving the job to the winner of the Salonen Cup the year after the league last hosted, giving them two years to prepare for the event.
2016 Dudley Hewitt Cup Tournament
x = Clinched championship round berth; y = Clinched first overall
Tie Breaker: Head-to-Head, then 3-way +/-.
Semi and Finals