The Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League today announced that they were concluding the regular season early in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This means that all three leagues making up the Canadian Hockey League have gone home early for 2019-20 with the Quebec League doing so earlier this morning.
OHL Commissioner David Branch made the announcement about two hours ago after “a meeting with the OHL Board of Governors and consultation with medical professionals.” There were 56 games left in the OHL regular season.
Although they “are continuing to monitor ongoing public health developments regarding COVID-19” they are trying to get the 2020 OHL Playoffs to take place.
Much like the QMJHL is doing, the 2020 OHL Priority Selection (draft) will take place live online on OntarioHockeyLeague.com on Saturday, April 4 at 9 AM.
The North Bay Battalion will have the first overall pick with the four non-playoff teams picking first. The 20 playoff teams will then pick in order of the points they finished with. Thus, the Kingston Frontenacs, with 42 points (the lowest of the playoff teams) will pick fifth and the Ottawa 67’s with 99 points, will pick 20th. All teams in the OHL played an equal 61 games in 2019-20.
On the other side of Canada, the Western Hockey League also ended their regular season for 2019-20. Commissioner Ron Robison said that they too are monitoring “ongoing public health developments regarding COVID-19” and will try to get the 2020 WHL Playoffs going at a later time.
Robison met with the WHL Board of Governors and medical professionals and they decided to cancel what was left of the 2019-20 season – 54 games.
The final standings were based on winning percentage according to the release put out by the WHL. The Portland Winterhawks finished first overall in the league. They will claim the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as WHL regular season champs. They finished with 97 points for a 0.770 win percentage.
The Seattle Thunderbirds were the final team to qualify for the playoffs with 55 points and a 0.437 win percentage.
Sixteen teams will qualify for the playoffs with only the Regina Pats, Prince George Cougars, Tri-City Americans, Moose Jaw Warriors and Swift Current Broncos missing.
As mentioned in the earlier post about the QMJHL, the CHL still intends to contest the Memorial Cup at some point this Spring.