The Memorial Cup, a junior hockey trophy that has been awarded every year for more than century, will be dormant this season. The CHL has decided to cancel the rest of their playoffs and championship tournament in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The tournament was scheduled for May in Kelowna, British Columbia but will not be possible.
The CHL, made up of the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League, had canceled the rest of the regular season recently but held out hope until today that a playoff would be possible. This new update means that for many NHL prospects, the season is over. For many others who won’t be transitioning to the professional ranks, their competitive hockey careers will end without a chance to hoist the trophy or even compete for their various league championships.
In terms of NHL impact, it also means that scouting staffs will not get a chance to see draft-eligible players in the high stress atmosphere of the playoffs. Those best-on-best tournaments are often where final decisions are made about a player’s upside, and draft rankings are solidified. Without the U18 World Championship, CHL or USHL playoffs, scouts will be armed with much less information this time around.
It also obviously comes as an ominous sign for the future of the 2019-20 NHL season, which still seemingly hangs in the balance. The league today issued an updated FAQ that suggested they are still hoping to restart a training period after 45 of the CDC’s recommended 60 days with no gatherings of more than 50 people, but things are still changing rapidly as more information comes out.