WHL cancels remainder of regular season

League hopes to conduct playoffs at a later date

OHL also cancels remaining games of their campaign while USHL ends season early

The Western Hockey League confirmed on Wednesday that the rest of the 2019-20 regular season has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having suspended play last Thursday, the league determined that the final 54 games of the campaign would not be made up and that the playoffs would be hopefully be held at a later date.

“The WHL takes the safety of our players, officials, staff, fans, and everyone associated with the WHL very seriously,” commissioner Ron Robison said in a prepared statement. “Given the ongoing public health developments regarding COVID-19, we deemed it necessary to cancel the remaining games on the 2019-20 WHL regular season schedule.

“We will continue to monitor ongoing public health developments regarding COVID-19. We will make every effort possible to conduct the 2020 WHL Playoffs at a later date. We thank WHL fans and partners for your patience and understanding during these challenging times.”

With the season ending early, the Prince Albert Raiders will finish first in the East Division for the second straight year with a 36-18-6-4 record.

This marks the first time since the franchise joined the WHL in 1982 that they have ended consecutive campaigns in the top spot in their division at the conclusion of the regular season.

The Raiders were to have faced the Moose Jaw Warriors in a pair of games last weekend before concluding their regular season slate this weekend with two meetings against the Saskatoon Blades.

The team issued a statement on Wednesday that they were still finalizing details in regards to tickets for the final two home games of the 2019-20 regular season.

Fans are asked to keep all of their tickets and flex pack vouchers with more information to be announced at a later date.

At this point, the league has yet to announce what the playoff format would be if the post-season would to occur.

If they stick with the current playoff format, the Raiders would end up facing the Calgary Hitmen, who had the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The only playoff spot that had yet to be determined before the league stopped play was for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

That ended up going to the Seattle Thunderbirds, who held a seven-point advantage over the Prince George Cougars.

The Portland Winterhawks finished first overall in the league with a 45-11-3-4 record and a .770 point percentage.

Spokane Chiefs forward Adam Beckman will end up as the 2019-20 scoring champion with 107 points in 63 games.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced the cancellation of their regular season on Tuesday, while the Ontario Hockey League followed suit Wednesday afternoon.

While the other two leagues set their playoffs by point percentage, the OHL elected to set their final standings by putting everyone at 61 games played, even though the majority of teams had played one, two or three more games after that.

As a result, the Soo Greyhounds ended up five points back of the Erie Otters for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference instead of being just a single point back when league play was stopped.

Over in the Eastern Conference, the Niagara IceDogs and Kingston Frontenacs were tied for the final playoff spot on 42 points, while the North Bay Battalion were four markers back.

If the playoffs were to take place, the Frontenacs would be credited with the last seed as they had one more regulation win than the IceDogs this season.

Unlike the other two CHL leagues, there is no draft lottery in the OHL and the Battalion will have the first overall pick on April 4.

Forward Adam Fantilli, who had 36 points in 25 games for the Kimball Union Academy, is widely considered to be the best player available.

The Ottawa 67’s will end the campaign as the top team in the OHL with a 50-11-01 record and an .815 point percentage.

They also have the leading scorer in the league as draft eligible forward Marco Rossi had 120 points in 56 games.

Meanwhile, the United States Hockey League announced on Wednesday morning that they have cancelled the rest of their 2019-20 season.

“This decision was not an easy one to make, but was a necessity in order to keep our athletes, staffs and fans in all 16 of our communities safe amid this international health risk,” USHL president and commissioner Tom Garrity said in a prepared statement.

“While we believe our product is the best junior hockey that fans can view, we also understand the health of our athletes, employees, fans and communities is more important during this time.

Final Standings

East Division

  1. Prince Albert Raiders – 82 points (36-18-6-4)
  2. Winnipeg Ice – 77 points (38-24-1-0)
  3. Brandon Wheat Kings – 76 points (35-22-4-2)
  4. Saskatoon Blades – 73 points (34-24-2-3)
  5. Regina Pats – 50 points (21-34-6-2)
  6. Moose Jaw Warriors – 32 points (14-44-4-0)

Central Division

  1. Edmonton Oil Kings – 94 points (42-12-6-4)
  2. Medicine Hat Tigers – 85 points (41-19-2-1)
  3. Lethbridge Hurricanes – 81 points (37-19-2-5)
  4. Calgary Hitmen – 75 points (35-24-4-1)
  5. Red Deer Rebels – 54 points (24-33-3-3)
  6. Swift Current Broncos – 25 points (10-48-2-3)

B.C. Division

  1. Kamloops Blazers – 86 points (41-18-3-1)
  2. Victoria Royals – 72 points (32-24-6-2)
  3. Vancouver Giants – 70 points (32-24-4-2)
  4. Kelowna Rockets – 64 points (29-28-3-3)
  5. Prince George Cougars – 48 points (20-34-4-4)

U.S. Division

  1. Portland Winterhawks – 97 points (45-11-3-4)
  2. Everett Silvertips – 96 points (46-13-3-1)
  3. Spokane Chiefs – 87 points (41-18-4-1)
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds – 55 points (24-32-4-3)
  5. Tri-City Americans – 40 points (17-40-4-2)

Stat Leaders (CHL Leaders if Not from the WHL)

Players

  • Games Played: D-Jay Jerome (Lethbridge/Swift Current) – 66 (Anthony Tabak – Sarnia/Barrie – 67)
  • Goals: Adam Beckman (Spokane) – 48 (Nick Robertson – Peterborough – 55)
  • Assists: Eli Zummack (Spokane) – 64 (Marco Rossi – Ottawa – 81)
  • Points: Adam Beckman (Spokane) – 107 (Marco Rossi – Ottawa – 120)
  • Defensive Scoring: Alex Cotton (Lethbridge) – 67 (Noel Hoefenmayer – Ottawa – 82)
  • Rookie Scoring: Michal Teply (Winnipeg) – 63 (Shane Wright – Kingston – 66)
  • Plus/Minus: Noah King (Spokane) – 60 (Marco Rossi – Ottawa – 69)
  • Penalty Minutes: Cade McNelly (Seattle) – 110 (Daylon Groulx – Owen Sound/Ottawa – 118)
  • Power Play Goals: Orrin Centazzo (Kamloops) – 17 (Tyson Forester – Barrie – 18)
  • Power Play Assists: Zane Franklin (Kamloops) – 32 (Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski) and Ryan Merkley (London) – 35)
  • Game Winning Goals: Bryce Kindopp (Everett) – 11
  • Short Handed Goals: Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge), Krystof Hrabik (Tri-City) and Mark Kastelic (Calgary) – 4 (Nick Robertson – Peterborough – 8)
  • Short Handed Assists: Sean Strange (Kamloops) – 5
  • Overtime Goals: Carson Focht (Calgary), Bryce Kindopp (Everett) and Chase Wouters (Saskatoon) – 3 (Alex Beaucage (Rouyn-Noranda), Cedric Desruisseaux (Charlottetown), Alex-Olivier Voyer (Sherbrooke) and Shane Wright (Kingston) – 3)
  • Points Per Game: Adam Beckman (Spokane) – 1.70 (Alexis Lafreniere – Rimouski – 2.15)

Goalies

  • Games Played: Roman Basran (Kelowna) and Taylor Gauthier (Prince George) – 50 (Kai Edmonds – Mississauga – 54)
  • Shutouts: Dustin Wolf (Everett) – 9
  • Goals Against Average: Dustin Wolf (Everett) – 1.88 (Dante Giannuzzi of Portland had a 1.68 goals against average in nine appearances)
  • Rookie Goals Against Average: Sebastian Cossa (Edmonton) – 2.23 (Dante Giannuzzi of Portland had a 1.68 goals against average in nine appearances, Nikolas Hurtubise of Victoriaville had a 1.95 goals against average in 10 appearances and Carter Serhyenko of Prince Albert had a 2.21 goals against average in 15 appearances)
  • Save Percentage: Dustin Wolf (Everett) – .935
  • Wins: Joel Hofer (Portland) and Dustin Wolf (Everett) – 34 (Alexis Shank – Chicoutimi – 36)

Teams

  • Goals For: Kamloops Blazers – 271 (Ottawa 67’s – 296)
  • Goals Against: Everett Silvertips – 142
  • Penalty Minutes: Seattle Thunderbirds – 889
  • Power Play Percentage: Everett Silvertips – 27.5 (Sherbrooke Phoenix – 36.5)
  • Power Play Goals: Kamloops Blazers – 77
  • Penalty Kill Percentage: Edmonton Oil Kings – 87.5
  • Short Handed Goals: Lethbridge Hurricanes – 14 (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Kitchener Rangers, Saginaw Spirit and Sherbrooke Phoenix – 15)

Streaks

  • Goals: Adam Beckman (Spokane) – 10 games (16 goals) (Nick Robertson – Peterborough – 14 games and 19 goals)
  • Assists: Cole Fonstad (Prince Albert/Everett) – 14 games (20 assists) (Declan Chisholm (Peterborough) and Liam Foudy (London) – 15 games – Chisholm had 20 assists and Foudy had 19 assists)
  • Points: Adam Beckman (Spokane) – 18 games (33 points) (Jan Jenik – Hamilton – 26 games and 56 points)
  • Wins: Everett Silvertips and Vancouver Giants – 11 games (Ottawa 67’s – 17 games)
  • Losses: Swift Current Broncos – 18 games