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Canadian Hockey League cancels Memorial Cup

National championship tournament shut down for second-straight year due to COVID-19
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With one of their leagues having yet to start their regular season and the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to see increasing numbers throughout the country, the Canadian Hockey League made an inevitable decision on Tuesday morning.

The CHL -- the governing body for the three major junior leagues in the country -- announced that the Memorial Cup national championship tournament has been cancelled for the 2021 season.

The event was to be hosted by the Ontario Hockey League in either Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie.

“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. That has driven all of our difficult decisions for the last year as we have dealt with this global pandemic,” said CHL President Dan MacKenzie. “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 Canadian border with the United States remains closed, which would make travel for teams in the Western Hockey League’s U.S. Division for a playoff series, let alone a national championship tournament, extremely difficult with quarantine procedures and the like.

The WHL is currently in the midst of a 24-game season with games being played divisionally and has yet to announce a playoff schedule.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is using a similar format, but has been in action since Oct. 1 and is playing a 60-game schedule. Their planned playoff format is a final four with three teams from Quebec and one from the Maritimes.

The OHL has yet to return to play, having had several potential start dates set back by the rising pandemic numbers in the province.

The 2020 Memorial Cup was scheduled for Kelowna but was cancelled early last summer. No plans are in place for the 2022 tournament.