Monday, February 16, 2015

Q&A! - Feb 16th. 2015

Q&A is a new blog by yours truly that is going to act as a mail bag of sorts that is going to be made up of questions that I have been asked or things that I notice on the blog that people are saying lots of things about but not knowing the answer.  If you have something you would like me to write about please send it to 

I have recently got a few questions in my PM's about Junior hockey in Canada so I decided to put together this piece to give everyone a quick rundown of the Canadian Hockey League, for those already familiar with the CHL you will learn nothing new here but for those that don't I thought this would be a nice for those who are interested.

What is the Canadian Hockey League (CHL)? 

The CHL is actually an umbrella organization that unites and represents 3 regional hockey leagues that combine for 60 teams, 52 located in Canada and 8 teams in the USA.  These leagues are the Western Hockey League, The Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.  The CHL was founded in 1975. Players in this league generally range from 16-20 years of age but a team can only carry 3 players who are 20 and 4 that are 16.  A 15 year old may play if they have exceptional status... more on that later. 

The Western Hockey League (WHL) is a 22 team league made up of teams from the provinces  of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia as well as a division of 5 teams located in the USA from the states Washington and Oregon.  The league was founded in 1966.

The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) is a 20 team league made up from teams in the province of Ontario as well as 2 teams from the state of Michigan and 1 in Pennsylvania.  The league was originally founded  in 1933.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) usually simply referred to as "The Q". is the smallest of the 3 leagues with 18 teams from the Provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  There are no teams from the USA in the Q.

The leagues for the most part run individually handling things like supplemental discipline, as well as some flexibility with rules for off-ice situations.  They all have a regular season that concludes with best of 7 playoffs and crown their own champions.  They also have a series of events that encompass players from all 3 member leagues.

Annual CHL Events

The CHL Import Draft: All CHL teams as of this writing are allowed to carry to "import players", American players are not considered imports as the distinction is reserved for those players from Europe and Russia.  These players are selected in a separate draft from the standard draft which are done individually by the three member leagues. 

The Subway Super Series: This is an exhibition tournament that is usually held in November that spans 6 games in 6 randomly selected cities that pits a group of selected Russian players known as the Russian Selects against an all star team from each league for 2 games (2 games vs. Team QMJHL, 2 vs. Team OHL and 2 vs. Team WHL).  The points accumulated by the regional league teams are added together as team CHL and the team with the most points at the end of the super series is declared the winner, so far team CHL has won the most series since its inception in 2003.

CHL Top Prospects Game: 40 of the top undrafted prospects play in a game that is usually a lot of fun to watch, it's what everyone wishes the NHL All Star game was as there are a lot of scouts usually in attendance.  The game is coached by Don Cherry and Bobby Orr and other former players and coaches often act as assistant coaches.

The Master Card Memorial Cup:  This is the grand finale of the CHL season that pits the champion teams from each of the three leagues and a host city against each other in a round robin followed by followed by a single elimination playoff format similar to international hockey tournaments.  Aside from the Stanley Cup Playoffs or an Olympic year with NHL players this is a big must watch for me. The host city is decided in a rotation between the three leagues, the 2015 Memorial Cup will be hosted by the Quebec Ramparts of the QMJHL and the 2016 Memorial Cup will be hosted by Red Deer returning to an OHL city in 2017.

To host the memorial cup there are a few factors that come into play one is that your team actually has to be good and considered a contender within your league, because of the other qualifications it has become a point of much debate.  You need a state of the art facility because its big money tournament now.  You also need a solid organizing committee and community support.

Other quick facts

Unlike the NHL, the CHL cannot refuse to send a player to the IIHF U20 Tournament (The World Junior Tournament)

The CHL has a rule where kids that are considered exceptional talent can play in the CHL at the age of 15, players who have had this distinction have only come from the OHL thus far and the short list includes John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid and Sean Day.  At least check a 15 year old had to wear a full cage.  While all CHLers must wear visors.

If a players rights are owned by a CHL team and are drafted by an NHL team the player can only play in the NHL or be sent back to the CHL.  They cannot be assigned overseas, to the ECHL or the AHL with the latter only being an option for a quick conditioning stint. 

If a player plays a game in any of the 3 CHL Leagues they are no longer eligible to play in the NCAA because they are considered a professional.

54% of all NHLers come from the CHL, 24% from the NCAA while the remaining players come from the various European Leagues.

I hope this post was interesting as a non-sharks piece.  If you would like to check some stuff out on your own here are some links.

The Main CHL Website:
The WHL Website: 
The OHL Website:  
The QMJHL Website:
Buzzing The Net:    
(A Yahoo Sports Blog)

If I fucked something else or if you have questions fire away in the comments!

If you want to read previous blogs please check out

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