OHL and WHL End 2019-20 Season

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.

QMJHL and SHL Cancel Seasons

The coronavirus claimed two more hockey seasons as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Swedish Hockey League both announced they have ended the 2019-20 season due to the worldwide pandemic.

The Quebec League suspended play six days ago along with the rest of the Canadian Hockey League and announced yesterday that they were canceling the season outright. They are still hoping to get the playoffs in, however.

The determination for the playoffs will see the league commissioner determining “the general standings of the teams by using the points percentage if all teams have not played the same number of games at the time of the” cancellation. Tie breakers are in place if two teams are tied in a spot.

Currently 15 teams are in playoff position. The Sherbrooke Phoenix are first overall under the points percentage system with only 63 games played (a good portion of the teams had played 64 games already).

In addition to this, the QMJHL announced that their 2020 Entry Draft will now take place online instead of in Sherbrooke as previously planned. The annual meeting of the league is canceled. The Draft was to take place on June 6 at the Palais des Sports Leopold-Drolet. The meetings were supposed to be from June 3-5 in Sherbrooke as well.

In addition, the league’s Golden Puck Awards (to be held at the L’Etoile theater in Brossard Quebec – all events there were canceled) is canceled. As is other events the New England Showcase, the Gatorade Excellence Challenge and the Goaltenders Development Camp.

The rest of the CHL continues to be postponed. The league is hoping to get the 2020 Memorial Cup in as scheduled.

In addition to the Quebec League here in North America, the Swedish League has shut down the 2019-20 season as well. I do not read Swedish, but it looked, from their website, that the playoffs have been canceled there too.

Also, I don’t think I have mentioned it here, but due to the NCAA stopping all sports, the 2020 Frozen Four will not be taking place.

Have a great week, and I hope everyone is keeping safe.