As rep teams enter the post-season, some people may be wondering about the difference between playdown and playoff games.
All rep teams (except U9) have opportunity to qualify for the OWHA
Provincial Championships, regardless of their regular season record. Playdowns
are typically a series of single or double (home and away) games with other
teams in a specified geographical region, resulting in one (or sometimes more)
team that will participate in Provincials. In some cases, a team may get a bye
to the Provincials if there are no other teams in their division (e.g.., U11A,
U18BB, etc.) in the regional area. U9 teams automatically qualify for Provincials.
The GGHA is in Region L, which includes associations in
Guelph and Wellington County (Guelph, Grand River, Mount Forest), the north
part of Halton County (North Halton, Brampton), and a portion of Dufferin
County (Orangeville, Caledon).
Historically, playdown games are played Feb. 1 – mid March
(the Sunday of the first March Break weekend); this year the last day of
playdowns is March 10th. The Provincial Championships at multiple arenas
in the Toronto area in April, generally the weekend before Easter, but if
Easter is early, then the weekend after.
The Playdown regions, teams participating, and the standings
can be found on the OWHA website (owha.on.ca and then “OWHA Provincial
Playdowns” tab). However, the website does not indicate the number of
qualifying teams from each region, which may change from season to season based
on the number of teams (coaches will know).
Participation in playoff games is based on the regular
season standings – for the GGHA that is the OWHL – Southern League. Starting in
the 23-24 season, the top 8 teams in each division (e.g., U13A Central, U15AA Central
West) will participate in playoffs, with the top four teams in the Championship
round and teams placing 5th – 8th in the Consolation
round. There are two rounds of playoffs, with ultimately two teams per division
advancing to the one-game League Championships. Per the Hockey Canada U9 Pathway, U9 teams do not participate in elimination playoffs/ championships.
For this season, the first round is Feb. 20-March 10, and
March 11-April 2 (U22A has different dates). The Championships are April 5-7th,
at multiple arenas in the Toronto area.