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Report: CHL, broadcasters exploring March Madness format for Memorial Cup

Sep 5, 2014, 12:48 PM EDT

CHL Memorial Cup Hockey AP

Click here to read a Google-translated story (French to English) from La Presse about possible changes to the Memorial Cup tournament.

According to the story, the CHL, in tandem with broadcaster Sportsnet, is considering a change from the current format to a March Madness-like format.

This vision implies to have more than four teams in contention to play more playoff games to generate interest and disseminate more games to attract more viewers.

“Whenever the content increases, it’s great for us. What is good with March Madness in the United States is that it lasts three weeks and several rivalries are born,” says the president of Sportsnet.

Writes junior hockey blog, Buzzing The Net:

Hypothetically, a 16-team single-elimination tournament offers 15 games, each one with real stakes. That is an improvement over an eight- or nine-game tournament that doesn’t really start until its second weekend.

We’ll add to that hypothetical. Let’s say the top two teams from each of the three leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) get automatic bids for reaching their respective postseason championship series, plus nine more teams receive at-large bids as selected by a committee (controversy potential!), plus one bid for the host city. Voila, 16 teams. Set the bracket and play.

Is it feasible? Well, that’s for the powers that be to decide. Any big junior hockey fans, feel free to share your comments below.

The 2015 Memorial Cup will be played in Quebec City under the current format.

  1. hth2727 - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Could be cool and it’d be nice if that tourney had a bigger presence in the states , and of course how do you have a bigger presence,more televised games building drama and $$$$

  2. rushledger - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    If it pans out half as good as America receives march madness this would be a huge and I’m all for it!

  3. pensfan1 - Sep 5, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Could be real cool. I am American but a huge WHL fan, maybe even moreso than the NHL. 16 teams would work but leave the politics of committee out of it. These are 16-20 year old kids but is is not a YMCA league where everyone gets a trophy. My 2 cents: Take the top two conference teams from each league and give them automatic berths. Give the host city one. Select the next nine based on the next nine best records from all three leagues combined (WHL, OHL, QMJHL). It might make for a possible league lopsided playoff but that’s the way it goes. Forget parity between leagues to have the same representation. Knowing the nine next best can get in might make for an even better regular season. Might even make me follow the O and the Q closer than I do as a fan.

  4. nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 5, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    It would certainly be a change, but not necessarily an improvement. It sounds like they would be throwing away the very longstanding tradition of each league (Quebec, Ontario & Western) crowning their own champion. They would also throw out the potential drama of a team losing a game but being able to regroup and mount a comeback. Hmmm.

  5. devilsmetsgiants - Sep 5, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Hell, find 64 teams and really go for it.

  6. canadiansportsfan77 - Sep 5, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Love it, bring it on

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