Dudley Hewitt Cup
The Dudley Hewitt Cup is a championship ice hockey trophy awarded to the Central Canadian Junior A Champion. The trophy is currently decided by round robin tournament format, at the conclusion of the playoffs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, and Superior International Junior Hockey League, to determine the central seed to the Royal Bank Cup. The Royal Bank Cup is the Canadian National Junior A Championship and is only competed for by teams within the Canadian Junior Hockey League.
|Dudley Hewitt Cup|
|Given for||Central regional champion of Canadian Junior Hockey League|
|Most wins||Guelph Platers (5)|
|Most recent||Oakville Blades (2019)|
The current format includes the champions of the OJHL, NOJHL, and SIJHL and a pre-selected host city, but in the past has included the champions of the Central Canada Hockey League, Quebec Junior Hockey League, and even the champion of the Callaghan Cup (Atlantic Provinces).
From 1984 until 1995, the Thunder Bay Flyers of the United States Hockey League competed for the Dudley Hewitt Cup, possibly the most successful competition in the event's history with 4 titles in 12 years.
The 2002 Dudley Hewitt Cup marked a new chapter in Ontario hockey history. Since the mid-1990s, the OPJHL and NOJHL had squared off in a head-to-head series to determine the Central Canadian seed in the Royal Bank Cup. In 2001, a new Thunder Bay-area league, called the Superior International Junior Hockey League, was founded. Late in the 2001–02 season of the OPJHL and NOJHL, the CJAHL informed them that instead of a series, the Dudley would be competed for through a round-robin format. The NOJHL and OPJHL decided to protest the new format by boycotting the Dudley Hewitt Cup, but without the OPJHL's governors knowledge, the heads of the NOJHL and SIJHL worked out a backroom deal that they would compete for the Cup without the OPJHL's involvement. The NOJHL's Rayside-Balfour Sabrecats swept SIJHL's Dryden Ice Dogs, while the OPJHL's Brampton Capitals sat at home with no avenue for advancement. The subterfuge by the NOJHL led to an agreement in 2003 to allow the championship to be played in a round-robin style. Also, it marked the end of any dominance the NOJHL had at the interleague level as no NOJHL champion won the DHC from 2002 until 2012.
The 2011 Dudley Hewitt Cup made history as for the first time at the interleague level, more than one American team would be in direct contention for the Central Canadian Crown. The 2011 round robin will feature the Wisconsin Wilderness of the Superior International Junior Hockey League and the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. In 1971, the Detroit Jr. Red Wings of the Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League lost the inaugural championship in six games to the Charlottetown Islanders. In 1973, the St. Paul Vulcans of the Can-Am Junior Hockey League were mowed down by the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the Central semi-final. In 2007, the Soo Indians of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League finished last in the round robin. At that point, no American team had made it to either the Centennial Cup or Royal Bank Cup round robin or final series. This changed on May 4, 2013 when the SIJHL's Minnesota Wilderness defeated the OJHL's St. Michael's Buzzers 4-3 in overtime to win the Dudley and gain entry into the 2013 Royal Bank Cup. Beforehand, the City of Sudbury and the Sudbury Cubs were slated to host the 2013 tournament, but was soon allocated to the City of North Bay and the North Bay Trappers because the Cubs owners backed out. The 2014 Dudley Hewitt Cup saw its fourth all-Ontario Junior Hockey League Dudley-Hewitt Cup final between the Wellington Dukes and the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots. Toronto won 2–1 advancing to the Royal Bank Cup in Vernon, British Columbia leaving the hosts Wellington Dukes at home. The City of Sudbury and the Sudbury Nickel Barons were awarded the 2016 Dudley Hewitt Cup, but in the spring of 2015 the city and the Nickel Barons backed out again, and as a result of the Sudbury Nickel Barons moving to Rayside-Balfour. The tournament was awarded to Kirkland Lake, Ontario, and the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.
The 2017 Dudley Hewitt Cup was awarded to Trenton - the same year the Royal Bank Cup was being hosted by the OJHL's Cobourg Cougars. The Trenton Golden Hawks became the 9th different OJHL team to win the Dudley Hewitt Cup since 2003. The Aurora Tigers (2004 and 2007), Oakville Blades (2008 and 2010), and the Wellington Dukes (2003 and 2011) won the tournament twice. As of 2016, the Soo Thunderbirds appeared in their sixth tournament since 2004.
In early January 2019,the Wellington Dukes were awarded the 2020 Dudley-Hewitt Cup tournament, but shortly afterwards, Hockey Canada levied sanctions against the OJHL for trades made after the January 10 deadline. The OJHL was fined $50,000 and were banned from hosting the Dudley-Hewitt Cup and Royal Bank Cup tournaments for a period of five years.
The Copeland-NcNamara Trophy champions of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Salonen Cup champion from the Superior International Junior Hockey League and the winner of the Ontario Hockey Association's Buckland Cup and the Ontario Junior Hockey League compete in a round robin hosted by a predetermined host team and city to determine the Central Canadian Champion.
The winner of the Dudley Hewitt Cup moves on to compete for the Royal Bank Cup Junior A national championship.
2019 Dudley Hewitt Cup
x = Clinched championship round berth; y = Clinched first overall
Tie-breaker: Head-to-head, then 3-way +/-.