For the Smoky River Express
The Falher Pirates will open their 24-game 2018-19 North Peace Hockey League season Saturday, Nov. 3 against an undetermined opponent.
It was one of many decisions reached at the NPHL’s annual general meeting AGM in Fairview Sept. 26.
The league will have the same division format as last year. Joining the Pirates in the East Division are the Grimshaw Huskies, High Prairie Regals and Manning Comets.
The West Division will be comprised of the Dawson Creek Canucks, defending champion Fort St. John Flyers, and Grande Prairie Athletics. This season, the Huskies, Regals and Comets make three trips to Falher while the Canucks, Flyers and Athletics each visit once. The road schedule is the same with the Pirates returning the favour. The playoff format was modified slightly this season. In the East, first place plays fourth while second plays third in a best-of-seven. At the same time, the West champion receives a bye and sits for two weeks while the second and third place teams do battle.
However, in the semi-final, the first place team in the West plays the lowest remaining seed in the East; the other semi-final pits the highest seed left in the East playing the lowest seed in the West. Both are best-of-seven series. Last season, the semi-final series saw teams play division opponents. The Spirit River Rangers and Valleyview Jets notified the NPHL they were trying to organize before the meeting. The Rangers forwarded a letter to the NPHL saying they would not be entering a team this season while Valleyview did not attend.