For the second-straight year, the Canadian Hockey League announced the cancellation of the 2021 Memorial Cup.
Typically set for the conclusion of the three CHL member league postseasons, the Memorial Cup is known as one of the most difficult trophies to win in sports, taking the champion of each of its member leagues and placing them in a showdown with the host in a round robin styled tournament.
Calling it a ‘difficult decision’ made in conjunction with the Western Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the CHL did hint at the idea of a full return for the 2022 season.
“There is no question that the 2020-21 season has been difficult for all involved in CHL hockey,” a statement from the CHL read. “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 opportunity in the world.”
The WHL and QMJHL are currently participating in shortened seasons while dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks/shutdowns on the weekly, while the OHL has yet to even begin its 2020-21 season. Citing travel issues, as well as that of the lack of even competition (OHL), the CHL said it attempted to delay this decision as long as possible.
“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 statement continued. “The Memorial Cup is steeped in tradition and is one of the most difficult trophies to win in all of sport. The CHL looks forward to presenting it next season to the championship club 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.
“The CHL is committed to the health and safety of our players, their families and billets, our teams, staff and officials, and the communities in which we play,” CHL President Dan MacKenzie said on Tuesday. “That has driven all of our difficult decisions for the last year as we have dealt with this global pandemic. The decision was made based on the limitations on travel, border restrictions, and quarantining requirements that would make it impossible to produce league champions.”
The QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies remain as the reigning Memorial Cup champions following their victory over the host Halifax Mooseheads back in 2019.