WHL cancels rest of regular season, playoffs remain in limbo

The Silvertips’ final five regular-season games will not be played

The 2019-20 Western Hockey League regular season has been canceled.

The league’s board of governors met Tuesday and, according to a report by Bob McKenzie of TSN, they determined that the remainder of the regular season, which was set to end March 21, won’t be completed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision left open the slim possibility of the playoffs taking place in some form. If so, the WHL would seed its teams based on point percentages, TSN reported. In that scenario, the Silvertips (.762) would hold the WHL’s No. 2 seed behind Portland (.770).

There was no indication if the playoffs would take place in a truncated form. The normal format is three rounds of best-of-seven series and a seven-game championship series.

The 2020 WHL bantam draft will be determined in reverse order of the teams in the standings based on point percentages, TSN reported.

Along with the two other organizations that make up the Canadian Hockey League — the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League — the WHL temporarily suspended its season on March 12. That move followed similar decisions by the NHL and the American Hockey League earlier in the day.

Over the weekend, several WHL clubs — including the Silvertips — sent their players home. Everett players departed Snohomish County on Sunday morning.

Also on Sunday, Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reported that two Winnipeg Ice players were being tested for the virus. As of Tuesday afternoon, the results of those tests had not been made public.

Even if the playoffs are completed, the 2020 Memorial Cup, scheduled to be hosted by the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place in late May, won’t be played as scheduled. The event brings together the champions of the three major junior hockey leagues and the host team. The British Columbia provincial health authorities have mandated that no sporting events of 50 or more people take place until June, at the earliest.

McKenzie said he’s doubtful the playoffs will take place at all.

“As for the respective CHL playoffs, the odds of them taking place would appear to be a longshot at this point,” McKenzie said in a tweet, “but no firm decision is being taken by the CHL on playoffs just yet.”

It could be the first season without a Memorial Cup champion since its modern iteration began in 1983.

The cancellation of the regular season ends the Silvertips’ bid for the organization’s second Scotty Munro Trophy, awarded to the WHL team with the best regular-season record. Portland would take that honor with the best point percentage.

The cancellation of the regular season also halts two Silvertips’ quests to climb atop the franchise’s record books.

Silvertip captain Bryce Kindopp sat two goals from Patrick Bajkov’s franchise career goals record (112) with five regular-season games remaining. Wyatte Wylie was one point away from tying the franchise mark for single-season points by a defenseman (65), set by Kevin Davis in 2017-2018.

Josh Horton covers the Silvertips for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter, @JoshHortonEDH

Talk to us

More in Sports

Granite Falls' Kaleb Roberts rushes with Sultan's Kaden Harwick closing Friday night in Sultan on February 26, 2021 (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Friday night lights finally back on

Granite Falls beats rival Sultan in OT in the area’s first prep football game in more than 15 months.

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez waits to bat during spring training baseball practice Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Mariners prospect learning from Seattle icon

Julio Rodriguez, just barely 20 years old, is relishing an opportunity to work with Ichiro Suzuki.

Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin (0), left, and center Christian Koloko (35) smother Washington forward Nate Roberts (1) as they fight for a loose ball goes to the ground in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Tucson, Ariz. (Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
Huskies edged by Arizona in regular-season finale

Washington’s difficult regular season comes to an end with a hard-fought 75-74 loss on the road.

High School football teams across Snohomish County are closing in on their first game in over a year. (Herald file photos)
Prep football: Key games and the area’s complete schedule

The first H.S. football game in the county in over a year is set to take place this coming Friday.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, right, talks to quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Seahawks defeated the Dolphins 31-23.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Reports show growing divide between Wilson, Seahawks

But despite the star quarterback’s apparent unhappiness, a trade in 2021 remains unlikely.

Austin Johnson, 26 years-old, trains on the Centennial Trail in Lake Stevens and is planning to do a 24-hour run to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
24 hours, 80 miles, $23k raised for mental health

Austin Johnson completes a 24-hour run along the Centennial Trail to raise money for suicide prevention.

Quarterback Tanner Jellison runs a play with running backs Jay Roughton, left, and Trayce Hanks as the Lake Stevens High School football team conducts its first practice, marking the first day of practice for fall sports in the Wesco division, on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 in Lake Stevens, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Wesco high school sports teams’ long layoff finally ends

For the first time in more than 450 days, Wesco fall athletes gathered for official practices.

Everett Silvertips' Jake Christiansen takes a shot on goal during the game on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Silvertips release abbreviated 24-game schedule

Everett will open its season against Spokane at Angel of the Winds Arena on March 20.

Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert passes the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga’s Kispert finalist for Erving Award

The Edmonds native is among the final five to be the top small forward in college basketball.

A law enforcement officer looks over a damaged vehicle following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angeles. Woods suffered leg injuries in the one-car accident and was undergoing surgery, authorities and his manager said. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
L.A. sheriff calls Tiger Woods crash ‘purely an accident’

Deputies saw no evidence the golf star was impaired by drugs or alcohol after Tuesday’s rollover.

Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto talks about the suspension of second baseman Robinson Cano, before the team's baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Seattle. Cano was suspended 80 games for violating baseball's joint drug agreement. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Mariners doing damage control with players after Mather’s video

GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais say the players involved have every right to be upset.

Arizona Diamondbacks' Travis Snider singles against the Texas Rangers during a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Community sports roundup: Ex-Jackson star Snider joins Braves

Plus, a former Monroe QB is excelling at Whitworth, the Silvertips sign a former T-bird, and more.