Two Western Hockey League players that could hear their names called at next month’s National Hockey League Draft are headed abroad for the start of the 2020-21 season.
Forwards Connor McClennon of the Winnipeg Ice and Ridly Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings will be both begin the campaign with Swedish third division side Karlskrona HK, but are expected to return to Manitoba for the start of the WHL season, which is currently projected for Dec. 4.
Greig, who could be a potential first round pick in this year’s NHL Draft, had 26 goals and 34 assists in 56 games during the 2019-20 campaign as he finished third in team scoring with 60 points.
Although he missed the last two months of the season with a collarbone injury, McClennon was still able to score 21 goals and had 28 assists to finish fifth in the Ice scoring chart with 49 points in 42 games.
The pair also won a silver medal with Team Canada at last year’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where Greig had three points and McClennon had two points.
McClennon and Greig are the first Canadian players in the Canadian Hockey League to make the trek overseas to start the upcoming season.
Several players from Europe or that have European ties, such as Prince Albert Raiders forwards Aliaksei Protas and Ilya Usau, have signed loan deals over the last month.
Hockey Canada cancel events
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in three more Hockey Canada sanctioned events to be cancelled.
The affected competitions are the National Women’s Under-18 Championship in Dawson Creek, B.C. (Nov. 2-8), the Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup in Bridgewater, N.S. (Dec. 6-12) and the World Junior A Challenge in Cornwall, Ont. (Dec. 13-20).
All three host cities will have the chance to host the events again in 2021.
There has been no update yet on the status of the 2021 World Juniors,
which is slated to be held in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta. and may take place without fans.
QMJHL releases schedule
While the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League are still targeting a December start date, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League officially released their schedule for the 2020-21 regular season, which will start on Oct. 2.
The 60-game slate, which is down from the traditional 68, will see the teams play only in their assigned division and will feature 83 per cent of the league’s contest occur on weekends.
The regular season will conclude on April 3, with this year’s playoff format expected to be announced in December.