The 2019 Herder Memorial Trophy is the senior championship for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The tournament champion earns the province's bid for the 2020 Atlantic Region Allan Cup Qualifier. The previous year's Herder winner is traditionally the only team registered at the Senior AAA level (Allan Cup eligible) for each season.
Senior Hockey in the province has been crisis mode for a few years now as the Central/West Senior Hockey League had been playing with only 3 teams, the Avalon East Senior Hockey League folded after four of five members withdrew from the league to form the East Coast Senior Hockey League and a revised line up for the AESHL was deemed as a Senior B league and thus ineligible to participate in provincial playoffs for the Herder Memorial Trophy. The Newfoundland West Coast Senior Hockey League was revived in the winter of 2017 and played an abbreviated schedule in the late winter/early spring of 2017, and a full schedule for the 2017-18 season. The league would decline to participate for the Herder after the 2017-18 season.
The 2018-19 playing season has been one of compromise by the teams and leagues for the greater good of the sport in the province. Each of the three leagues will have interlocking play with at least one other league to give each team more home dates and make a full schedule more financially feasible for teams as each team will be getting 2 to 4 addition home dates during the season. An as yet unidentified sponsor is stepping forward to help offset the travel cost.
Possible Format ChangeEdit
A couple of proposals have been made to have three leagues involved in a tournament for the Herder as a third league would bring a change in the format. A three team round robin tournament held over 4 days in St. John's was one proposal and a six team tournament similar to the current format of the Allan Cup tournament with two pools of three held over two weekends was another.
Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador is still working on the details for inter-league regular season play. The HNL Annual General Meeting is being held the weekend of September 15-16 to hopefully work out the final details of inter-league play and a format for the Herder tournament.
On October 2, 2018, the Central/West Senior Hockey League and the East Coast Senior Hockey League merged to form the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League. The league will be the only league eligible for the 2019 Herder Memorial Trophy when they play in a four team Memorial Cup style round robin tournament with a champion to be crowned over Easter weekend (Eastern Sunday is April 21st). It has yet to be announced how the four teams will be chosen and if this will be held separate or as part of the NSHL playoffs.
As this will be held after the 2019 Allan Cup this rules out the tournament being used to determine the province's representative in the 2019 Atlantic Region Allan Cup Qualifier and would probably rule out the 2018 Herder Memorial Trophy champion, Clarenville Caribous participating in this year's Allan Cup qualifying against the Haut-Madawaska Panthers unless there is a built in break in the schedule for them to play in qualifying and potentially the Allan Cup itself which is being held April 8-13, 2019 in Lacombe, Alberta.
Eventually, it was decided that the winners of the two divisions playoffs would advance to the tournament and it would be a best-of-seven series.
- April 6: Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts defeated Southern Shore Breakers 4-3
- April 7: Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts defeated Southern Shore Breakers 5-1
- April 12: Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts defeated Southern Shore Breakers 2-0
- April 13: Southern Shore Breakers defeated Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts 4-2
- April 14: Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts defeated Southern Shore Breakers 3-2