SIJHL Semifinals Preview

April 4, 2024
Thunder Bay, Ontario

The 2024 Bill Salonen Cup playoffs are down to the final four, and the semi-final round will get underway Friday night in Sioux Lookout.  They’ll host the Thunder Bay North Stars.

The league’s other semi-final matchup, pitting the regular season champion Kam River Fighting Walleye against the Red Lake Miners, will see its first action Sunday in Oliver Paipoonge.

This will be the first playoff meeting between the North Stars and the Bombers.

In last year’s playoffs, Sioux Lookout was eliminated in the opening round after a game 7 overtime loss to the Wisconsin Lumberjacks in a series for the ages.

Thunder Bay last playoff run took them as far as a team can get without prevailing, falling to Kam River in an equally unforgettable series.

Games 1 and 2 are set for Sioux Lookout Memorial Arena, Friday and Saturday night respectively.  Both games are set for 7:30pm puck drops.

The Kam River / Red Lake series will be the first time the clubs will meet in a playoff since the 2022 finals, and feature the last two Bill Salonen Cup champions.

In 2022, Red Lake eliminated Kam River in six games to claim their first and only Bill Salonen Cup to date, and advanced to represent the SIJHL in that year’s edition of the Centennial Cup.  The Miners fell to Thunder Bay in 5 games in last year’s playoffs.

Kam River broke through in last year’s playoff tournament, dispatching Wisconsin in 5 games en route to the game-7 victory over Thunder Bay and a berth in the Centennial Cup.

That series will get underway Sunday afternoon at Norwest Arena.  Puck drop is scheduled for 5:30pm.  The teams will be back at it on Monday night for game 2, also at Norwest Arena with action getting underway at 7:05pm.

The winners of the best-of-7 semifinal series’ will meet in the 2024 Bill Salonen Cup Championship final where the victor will earn entry into the CJHL Centennial Cup National Junior A Hockey Championships taking place in Oakville, ON beginning Thursday  May 9.