Canadian Hockey League

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Not to be confused with Canadian Hockey Association.
This article is about the major junior hockey league. For the junior A hockey league, see Canadian Junior Hockey League.
Canadian Hockey League
Canadian Hockey League Logo.svg
Canadian Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1975
No. of teams 60
Countries Canada
United States
Most recent
champion(s)
London Knights
TV partner(s) Sportsnet
Sportsnet One
Shaw TV (WHL and OHL)
Rogers TV/TV Rogers (OHL)
Eastlink TV/TVA Sports (QMJHL)
Official website www.chl.ca

The Canadian Hockey League (CHL; French: Ligue canadienne de hockey ‒ LCH) is an umbrella organization that represents the three Canadian-based major junior ice hockey leagues for players 16 to 20 years of age. The CHL was founded in 1975 as the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League,[1] and is composed of its three member leagues, the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. For the 2012-13 season, its three leagues and 60 teams represent nine Canadian provinces (52 teams) as well as four American states (8 teams).

The CHL schedule culminates in the Memorial Cup tournament, which sees each of the three league champions, as well as a host team, play a round-robin tournament to determine a national champion. The CHL also hosts the CHL Top Prospects Game, for the top draft eligible players in the league, as well as the Subway Super Series, a six-game all-star exhibition series against a team of Russian juniors.

Introduction[edit]

The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) is the governing body for Major Junior hockey (formerly known as Tier One Junior A), the top level of amateur hockey in Canada. The CHL currently oversees the Western Hockey League (WHL), the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), with the OHL and WHL having teams in both Canada and the United States. Each league plays individual regular season schedules, and playoffs. The annual CHL championship is determined by the Memorial Cup tournament held in May.

The CHL is generally considered the world's top junior hockey league for developing professional players and is a key supplier of new players and officials for the many North American professional hockey leagues, such as the National Hockey League, American Hockey League, and the ECHL.[2] If a CHL player does not sign a professional contract, many also opt to play for Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) and go to school due to CHL sponsored scholarship programs. However, due to the use of paying player stipends and allowing junior players that have signed entry level contracts with the NHL,[3] all CHL teams are considered professional by the NCAA; thus any player who plays a game at the Major Junior level loses their eligibility to play for universities in the United States.[4]

The CHL also seeks to raise the profile of the junior game by hosting annual events such as the Memorial Cup, the CHL Top Prospects Game and the Subway Super Series. The organization also provides many scholarships and bursaries for its players who exemplify extraordinary efforts and community involvement. These programs are supported by the many corporate sponsors.

Annual events[edit]

The MasterCard Memorial Cup[edit]

The Memorial Cup Tournament is the championship of Junior Canadian hockey. Each year it features the champions from the (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) and the host CHL team. The host team changes from year to year, and is selected by a bidding process prior to the start of each season. The annual event is one of the biggest sporting events in North America, attracting thousands of spectators and generating increasing revenue for both the CHL teams and the host city. MasterCard is the official sponsor of the championship.

CHL Top Prospects Game[edit]

The CHL Top Prospects Game is an annual event sponsored by Home Hardware and hosted by the CHL in which 40 of the top NHL Entry Draft eligible prospects in the Canadian Hockey League play against each other much like an all-star game. Each draft prospect hopes to boost their draft ranking with the NHL scouts and general managers who attend. The players are typically coached by a pair of hockey celebrities, usually Don Cherry and Bobby Orr. The event has been held annually since 1992. From 1992 to 1995 the event was known as the CHL All-Star Challenge and usually pitted one of the CHL's leagues against the other two.

Canada–Russia Super Series[edit]

The CHL hosts annually, the Subway Super Series, sponsored by Subway to showcase Canadian junior talent versus Russian junior talent. Each year a Russian junior team plays six games in total in Canada, two games against each CHL member league (WHL, OHL, QMJHL)

CHL Import Draft[edit]

Each year, every team in the CHL has the option to choose up to two players from outside North America to add to its roster. Picks are chosen in reverse order of the team's standings in the CHL. The import draft is seen as a way to raise the level of competition in the CHL, as well as to broaden its fan base while retaining high North American content.

CHL awards[edit]

List of annual awards given by the CHL:

Memorial Cup Awards:

Teams[edit]

For the 2012-13 season the league comprises 60 teams located in nine Canadian provinces (52 teams) and four American states (8 teams). For lists of teams see the articles about each member league. In 2008, the St. John's Fog Devils moved to Montreal, becoming the Montreal Junior Hockey Club, and left Newfoundland and Labrador as the only province without a team. The newest teams are the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the QMJHL and the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, which both begin play in the 2012–13 season.

Attendance[edit]

Listed below are the top CHL teams by average attendance for the 2015–16 regular season. Teams with an average attendance over 5,000 are shown.[5][6][7][8]

Pos. Team League Average
attendance
1. Quebec Remparts QMJHL 13,835
2. London Knights OHL 9,013
3. Calgary Hitmen WHL 8,217
4. Kitchener Rangers OHL 7,012
5. Portland Winterhawks WHL 7,004
6. Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL 6,893
7. Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 6,838
8. Spokane Chiefs WHL 5,765
9. Red Deer Rebels WHL 5,635
10. Oshawa Generals OHL 5,353
11. Kelowna Rockets WHL 5,242
12. Vancouver Giants WHL 5,169

The CHL single game attendance record is held by the London Knights and Plymouth Whalers for the December 29, 2013 outdoor game at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. A total of 26,384 spectators took in the game.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]