New OMHA Championships will be bigger and better than ever
Mitchell Machtinger Communications, Ontario Minor Hockey Association
As young hockey players return to the warmth of rinks around the province, the Ontario Minor Hockey Association is announcing new OMHA Championship Weekends, to be one of the biggest hockey championships in its history.
Over 375 teams will play in more than 850 games. Five locations across the province will be filled with action-packed minor hockey. 41 champions will be crowned as part of the new OMHA Championships presented by Egg Farmers of Ontario.
(Video explainer: https://youtu.be/ccD9eVaKYII)
The OMHA Championships will take place over three weekends – March 25th-27th, April 1st-3rd and April 8th-10th. The Championships will be hosted in five locations around the province: Barrie, Kingston, Oakville, Whitby and Windsor. The weekends will feature sponsor activations, official merchandise and live-streaming of games.
“Our players, parents and volunteers have endured so much during the pandemic. We have been planning this for months and believe this is a great way to give them something special to look forward to and to ensure all our participants can be involved in more meaningful hockey right up to March and beyond,” says Ian Taylor, Executive Director of the OMHA.
Taylor says the new OMHA Championship Weekends have the added advantage of keeping the tradition of #RedHats alive. Since the 1940s, hundreds of thousands of players have played for the coveted Red Hats, which are the red baseball caps that go to the championship OMHA teams. Many famous winners have been along the way, including Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenseman Travis Dermott, and the second overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft Quinton Byfield.
“Since 2018, Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) has been a proud supporter of the OMHA and are excited to continue that partnership through our involvement in the new OMHA Championship Weekends,” says Scott Helps, EFO Chair. “All teams should take pride in the hard work and perseverance that it takes to win the ultimate prize in minor hockey. These new steps to win the Red Hats will make it more exciting than ever.”
Leading up to the OMHA Championship Weekends, there will be important new league championships in each area starting this year. League playoffs will now turn into regional qualifying showdowns to see who moves on to compete for #RedHats. Parents can pack their rinks to show their hometown support and cheer on the teams punching their tickets to the OMHA Championships.
This new playoff format has been designed with players, coaches and parents in mind. It extends the length of playing meaningful hockey, minimizes travel for hockey families, and aligns with the Player Pathway’s optimal season structure. It removes the elimination-style series used in the past and keeps more teams playing during the year for a longer period of time.