Thursday, June 9, 2011

Perennial Sherwood Contenders Switching Sides

The Portage Terriers are crossing over.

After representing the Sherwood Division in 5 of the last 8 MJHL Finals, the Terriers are will be cutting down their gas bill, and moving to the Addison Division.

My question is... WHY DID IT TAKE THIS LONG?! I know when St. James was in the league, Portage being in the Sherwood made the divisions even, 6 and 6, but in an 11 team league, where the divisions have to be uneven... why not have them playing Winnipeg teams regularly instead of teams in Northern MB?

It makes perfect sense for the Terriers to be in the Addison. They're 45 minutes (75 km) from Winnipeg. According to MapQuest... they're 110km from Winkler, 125 km from Selkirk, and 160 km from Steinbach.

Compare that to the Sherwood Division, where their only 'close' trip is Neepawa, an hour (100 km) down the Yellowhead. After that, they've got mid-range trips to Waywayseecappo (240 km), and Dauphin, (250 km), and then hikes to Swan River (410 km) and OCN (640 km). Granted, they normally play back-to-backs in Swan or OCN, and Portage trips are often part of 3-game swings for the Stamps, Blizzard, Kings, and Wolverines... but if Portage went to each opponent there and back just once each... here's the difference:

Addison: 1,090 kilometres

Sherwood opponents: 3,280 kilometres

Yeah, probably a good move financially!

This is also big news for the Swan Valley Stampeders and Wayway Wolverines, who, in my time here, have played Portage in the playoffs every year between the two of them. Swan Valley three times and Wayway once. Add to the fact that Portage always seems to be at or near the top of the Sherwood, this move drastically changes the landscape of the division going forward... and likley makes it this year's Sherwood even more wide-open... as I think the Terriers are shaping up to be very good again.

This also means I'll be making less Portage trips, with cross-divisional teams meeting just 4 times per season, twice in each barn. I'm usually there about 4 times per regular season, but four will be the maximum now. I usually stay away from the Addison division, because of the distance and the fact that they're not divisional games... but I'm sure I'll schedule one or two in Portage. It's only about 3.5 hours for me, and it's a beautiful rink.

With the previous alignment, Sherwood teams would play their five other opponents 8 times each (total of 40), and the 5 Addison teams 4 times each (total of 20), plus two Showcase games for a 62 game schedule. That would have meant the Addison teams were playing the 6 Sherwood teams 4 times each (total of 24), leaving 36 divisional games (9 each against the other 4 opponents).

So assuming the schedule is still 62 games for this season, that would mean Sherwood opponents will now get an extra game against each other... with 9 meetings instead of 8.

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