The Canadian junior leagues have cancelled the 2020-21 Memorial Cup. The Memorial Cup is awarded to the best team in its three leagues. It was also cancelled last year. This is certainly disappointing to Canadian hockey fans, but the circumstances forced by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to affect events over a year after they initially caused issues. The CHL released a statement earlier today.
Statement from the CHL / Déclaration de la LCH pic.twitter.com/1zlAIYj5j2
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) April 13, 2021
CHL Cancels Memorial Cup
Some fans may have hoped that the Canadian leagues would return in their entirety this year, but COVID has produced an uneven landscape in 2020-21. As the press release indicates, the QMJHL and WHL have had short seasons while the Ontario Hockey League has not played at all since the 2019-20 year ended. It would have been unreasonable to select champions from each league without a consistent way to measure each one this year.
This move is a logical one, but there is no doubt that fans of the active leagues are disappointed. The Everett program was having a strong campaign in the Western League while several teams were doing very well in Quebec. Fans of teams having good years are understandably sad that the Memorial Cup won’t happen for their squad. The trophy had been awarded in every season for the past 102 years up through last year. That tradition will wait one season longer to resume. It will stay remain with Rouyn-Noranda for yet one more season.
What Is Next for the CHL
The leagues that are playing will likely finish out their remaining games and plan for the offseason. They will also work with the Canadian government to try and receive vaccinations in preparation for 2021-22. Cancelling the Cup now is the right move and will produce massive enthusiasm if everything eventually returns to normal. However, it is a sign that we are not yet able to resume the lives we once had.