QMJHL

Matthew Wedman #20 of the Kelowna Rockets stick checks Phillip Schultz #27 of the Victoria Royals
Getty Images

CHL cancels 2020 playoffs and Memorial Cup

The Canadian Hockey League announced on Monday evening that the 2020 playoffs and Memorial Cup has been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The CHL released the following statement.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), in association with our three regional leagues the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), made the decision to pause our season and last week officially cancelled all remaining regular season games.

We have continued to monitor the latest updates and advice from all public health agencies and medical experts, and worked tirelessly to determine a scenario by which the balance of our season could be played. Unfortunately, given the troubling state of our global climate and public welfare, there is still too much risk and uncertainty to move forward in good conscience.

With that in mind, CHL President Dan MacKenzie and Commissioners David Branch, Gilles Courteau, and Ron Robison have made the difficult decision to cancel the OHL, QMJHL, and WHL playoffs, and along with the support of Kia Canada as the presenting sponsor, to cancel the 2020 Memorial Cup which was scheduled to be held in Kelowna, B.C., May 22-31, 2020.

The CHL, WHL, OHL, and QMJHL all take great pride in providing the best environment for our players both on and off the ice with health and safety for them, and all stakeholders of our game, at the forefront.

We look forward with hope that next season will provide new opportunity to celebrate, and that the Memorial Cup will be presented at our prestigious national championship, hosted by the OHL in May, 2021.

Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

USHL, NAHL join list of leagues canceling seasons

USHL, NAHL join list of leagues canceling seasons COVID-19
Getty Images

More leagues are canceling their seasons due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), as the USHL and NAHL both recently made such announcements.

Update: The WHL also canceled its season. The OHL followed suit shortly after.

The USHL is the top junior hockey league in the U.S., while the NAHL represents Tier II.

USHL statement on canceling season

The USHL released this statement, clarifying the cancellation after previously announcing a delay on March 12.

“This decision was not an easy one to make, but was a necessity in order to keep our athletes, staffs and fans in all 16 of our communities safe amid this international health risk,” USHL President and Commissioner Tom Garrity said. “While we believe our product is the best junior hockey that fans can view, we also understand the health of our athletes, employees, fans and communities is more important during this time.”

NAHL releases statement on canceled season

The NAHL’s statement was interesting, as commissioner Mark Frankenfeld made a point to say that the biggest disappointment was for players. Here’s that full statement:

“The NAHL and its Board of Governors did everything in our power to preserve a modified playoff and Robertson Cup Finals to ensure our players had every opportunity to compete for and win a Robertson Cup Championship. The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation of cancelling all events of 50 or more people during the next eight weeks made that reality impossible without dramatically disrupting the rest of our hockey calendar. All NAHL teams will move forward with their tryout camp schedule, which is currently outside the CDC window.”

“We have had an incredible and memorable 2019-20 season up until this point, so this is a very sad day for everyone associated with the NAHL. We share that disappointment with all of our teams, parents, billet families, staff, sponsors, and fans. However, the biggest disappointment we have today is for our players. They are the backbone of the NAHL and we are blessed to have some incredible players and talent in our league. However, the safety of our hockey community, including all of our players, is our top priority and the decision to cancel the remainder of the season was necessary and in the best interest of everyone involved.”

List of leagues keep growing, NHL and AHL in holding pattern

With these announcements, the USHL and NAHL join the ECHL, QMJHL, several European leagues, and others in canceling their seasons outright.

The QMJHL made this additional announcement:

As you can see in the list of links at the bottom of this post, the NHL pushed back the possible resumption of the 2019-20 season/start of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to May. And, of course, that could change. The AHL made a similar announcement.

Follow this NBC News live update thread for more on the coronavirus pandemic.

MORE:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

QMJHL latest to cancel its season due to coronavirus

QMJHL latest to cancel season coronavirus
via QMJHL

The QMJHL became the latest hockey league to cancel the remainder of its 2019-20 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

March 21 was the planned end date of the QMJHL regular season, while the league’s draft lottery had initially been scheduled for March 25. The draft lottery has been postponed while remaining games were canceled. The QMJHL laid out its draft lottery rules as part of its statement.

Along with several European leagues, the ECHL announced its cancellation on Saturday.

As you can see in the list of links at the bottom of this post, the NHL pushed back the possible resumption of the 2019-20 season/start of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to May. And, of course, that could change. The AHL made a similar announcement.

Follow this NBC News live update thread for more on the coronavirus pandemic.

UPDATE:

MORE:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Crosby’s number 87 retired across QMJHL

Getty Images
5 Comments

On Friday, Sidney Crosby found out that his jersey number 87 won’t just be retired by Rimouski Oceanic, the QMJHL team he dominated for in 2003-04 and 2004-05, but that his number 87 is being retired across that entire junior league.

It’s fitting, really, considering how fixated Crosby is on the number 87.

As you may know, Crosby was born on Aug. 7, 1987, aka 8-7-87. The Pittsburgh Penguins likely feel quite fond of that 87, too, as they were able to sign him far below market value at $8.7 million in AAV from 2013-14 through 2024-25. Crosby also carried that $8.7M cap hit during his previous contract, from 2008-09 to 2012-13.

So … yeah, the fellow cares about 87. Frankly, if Cap Friendly had a Hall of Fame, that $8.7M would probably be retired, too.

Now, the NHLPA? They probably haven’t been too thrilled with Crosby’s fixation.

Either way, it seemed like a touching ceremony for Crosby:

… who felt 16 again:

And now we can all feel that much older, if Crosby hitting 1,000 regular season games played didn’t already do the trick.

The QMJHL notes some of Crosby’s biggest accomplishments at that level, and that Crosby and Patrice Bergeron are the only two QMJHL players to win the “Triple Crown” of gold in the Olympics, gold at the world championships, and a Stanley Cup.

The Nova Scotian gathered plenty of hardware, winning multiple QMJHL and CHL awards along the way. He captured the prestigious Paul-Dumont trophy awarded to the League’s top personality twice, two Michel-Brière trophies as Most Valuable Player and one playoff MVP crown (Guy-Lafleur trophy). He remains the only player in history to win back to back CHL Player of the Year awards. Crosby also captured silver at the 2004 World Junior Championship and gold the following year.

Crosby scored 54 goals and 135 points in 59 games as a rookie with Rimouski Oceanic in 2003-04, then topped that work in 2004-05, collecting 66 goals and 168 points in 62 regular-season games. His playoff run in 2004-05 might have been most impressive of all: 14 goals, 31 points in just 13 games.

He turned out pretty OK in the NHL, too, and you can basically set your watch to the Penguins retiring his number 87 when they get the chance.

MORE:
• ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Patrick Roy returns to Quebec Remparts as GM and head coach

AP Images
3 Comments

You can remove Patrick Roy’s name from any list of potential NHL coaching hires this summer. The 52-year-old Hockey Hall of Famer is returning to junior hockey and once again will be coaching the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Roy, who will also be the team’s general manager, held both roles as well as part-owner during his first tenure with the Remparts from 2005-2013. In eight seasons, he led the team to four division titles, eight playoff appearances and the 2006 Memorial Cup title.

He said on Thursday that he began thinking about the job after Philippe Boucher resigned from both positions with the Remparts earlier this month.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

After leaving the Remparts in 2013, Roy was named head coach and vice president of hockey operations for the Colorado Avalanche and led them to a 102-point season and a playoff berth after a three-year absence. That improvement resulted in him being named the 2014 Jack Adams Award winner.

But after that, things did not go so well. The Avalanche would regress and miss the playoffs the next two seasons. A month before training camp opened in 2016, Roy abruptly resigned, noting that his vision for the team did not “align” with that of the organization.

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.