— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) October 6, 2017
The news broke yesterday that the Western Hockey League is planning to cut the season schedule from 72 to 68 games beginning with the 2018-19 season. The WHL Board of Governors made the decision Wednesday at a meeting in Calgary.
The WHL has played a 72-game schedule since the 1975-76 season. Reducing that number to 68 will bring the WHL into alignment with the schedules of teams in the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Gregg Drinnan, the dean of WHL writers and curator of the Taking Note blog had an interesting take that you should read here. He says reducing the number of games will cause gate receipts to decline – the main reason owners have resisted shortening the season before. If owners are willing to lose that revenue, it doesn’t really fit with the league’s narrative that many teams would have to fold if forced to pay minimum wage.
In other news:
– The Regina Pats have scheduled a full weekend of events for Family Day Weekend Feb. 16-19. It’s the 100th anniversary of the organization and the centennial celebration of the Memorial Cup, which Regina will host next May. There will be two outdoor games played at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium, including an All-Star Celebrity Classic and a regular-season match-up between the Pats and the Moose Jaw Warriors.
– There are 150 WHL graduates competing for Canada West university hockey teams this season. That includes six Silvertips, including forwards Manraj Hayer (UBC), Remi Laurencelle (U of Manitoba) and Carson Stadnyk and Kohl Bauml (U of Saskatchewan), and defensemen Lucas Skrumeda (Manitoba) and Connor Cox (Saskatchewan). Former Tips blueliner Cole MacDonald is playing for St. Francis Xavier of Atlantic University Sport.
– The Silvertips are in Alberta for the next five games and it’s a homecoming for nine of them. Also tonight’s live blog is below: