The WHL and QMJHL have been back in action for a while now, they won’t be chasing a Memorial Cup this season. The CHL has announced that the 2021 Memorial Cup has been canceled. The full statement reads:
There is no question that the 2020-21 season has been difficult for all involved in CHL hockey. We have focused on making decisions that put the health and safety of our players, staff and the entire CHL family first, while balancing the need to provide our players with the best hockey development in the world.
With the WHL and QMHL in the midst of shortened seasons and the OHL continuing return-to-play discussions with the Ontario government, unfortunately, we have once again had to make the difficult decision to cancel the Memorial Cup. As a league, we waited as long as we could in hopes that this was not the decision that we were going to have to make. Regrettably, we do not see a path in which we will be able to produce champions in our three member leagues due to border restrictions and quarantining requirements.
The Memorial Cup is steeped in tradition and is one of the most difficult trophies to win in all of sport. We look forward to awarding it next season to the CHL championship team that has earned the right to hoist it.
Further decisions regarding the timing and location of the 2022 Memorial Cup will be announced at a later date.
This is another development event that the 2021 draft class will now miss, further obscuring their full scouting profiles ahead of the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. The Memorial Cup is where many CHL players truly forge their name in junior hockey, performing on the biggest stage to determine a national champion.
The Cup itself has been handed out since 1919, but was not awarded last year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The hope was that things would have improved enough to host the tournament this year, but as explained in the statement, the leagues are unlikely to even crown champions in their shortened seasons. The Halifax Mooseheads, who took home the Cup in 2019, remain champions for another year.
Of note, this could mean that CHL prospects can return in time for the AHL playoffs, depending what the minor league decides in regards to hosting a postseason. Players like Connor Zary and Seth Jarvis had been playing incredibly well in the professional ranks before being forced back to the WHL when it opened up due to their age.