The end of the regular season is slowly nearing, but the Huron East Centenaires look forward to the next few weeks with some optimism drawn from an exciting new play-off format and some key players to lead the way.
In recent weeks, the team has quietly built up their roster starting with the salty James Marsden, an Exeter native. The former Kingston Frontenac forward has been a rugged addition who has made space for himself each time he has stepped on the ice. Another addition is Josh Gaynor. The Goderich native and former University of Windsor player is a skilled forward, who is versatile enough to move around to any position. Startford native Jordan Leyser was another key recent pick up for the team. The rugged defenseman spent much of his career in Listowel Jr B, before going to St Marys Lincolns and playing Senior AA in Monkton. Finally, over the holiday season, Egmondville native, and former Stratford Culliton's defenseman Connor Devereaux signed with the Cents and while he is still attending University, he is a key future building block. In the mean time, Gaynor, Marsden and current captain Brandon Merritt are a skilled line for the Cents and as good as any line in the league today.
The new playoff format is one which will see all teams competing for two championships. How it will work is the entire league (6 south teams, 8 north teams) are essentially split into two leagues based on overall regular season records.
The top 4 teams from the North and the top 4 teams from the South split away and go into the 'AA' play-offs. Currently teams like Tillsonburg, Tavistock, Petrolia and Clinton have a lock on those spots from the southern division where the Centenaires are positioned.
For the 'A' Play-offs, which the Cents will be competing in, the bottom 2 teams in the South and the bottom 4 in the north join to form the league of 6. The league of 6 are then ranked 1 through 6 based on regular season points. Teams will then play in a 1 game round-robin with each of the other 5 teams. The Cents will have two home games as part of the round robin.
After the round robin, the top 4 teams (of the starting six) advance, based on round robin points, to compete in a two round playoff championship final.
As this team improves over the next month it is an exciting opportunity to come into the playoff run with a clean slate. The path to the playoffs begins this weekend as Milverton, a team who will be part of the league of 6, comes to Seaforth for an 8:30pm puck drop. Gates open at 7:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door!