CHL leagues cancel remainder of regular season campaigns; playoff status still undetermined

With the OHL's announcement Wednesday afternoon, all three CHL member leagues have shuttered the remainder of their respective regular seasons, with the playoffs still in question.
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Photo by Vincent Ethier/CHL

Photo by Vincent Ethier/CHL

The QMJHL was the first Canadian major junior league to officially cancel the remainder of its regular season due to the COVID-19 virus. The league announced its decision in a statement Tuesday.

The league first suspended its season last week following the NHL's decision to press pause on its on-ice play. The QMJHL regular season was set to conclude on March 21, with the majority of teams having fewer than six games remaining in the campaign. The final standings, the league said, will be based on points percentage.

Through 63 games, the Sherbrooke Phoenix have been dominant from start to finish with a 51-8-3-1 record, including a 13-0-0-0 run prior to the cancellation. Sherbrooke (106) and the Moncton Wildcats (101) were the only two teams to crack the 100-point barrier, with Chicoutimi Saguenéens not far behind with 96. Currently, 15 teams had clinched playoff spots. The Gatineau Olympiques (49 points) are the highest-placed team of the remaining three clubs to not secure a spot prior to the announcement. When, or if, the playoffs begin, however, the Olympiques will make the post-season based on points percentage.

There is no word as to the status of the playoffs or the Memorial Cup, which is set to take place in Kelowna in May. There is no official word on the QMJHL draft, but a previous version of the league's press release said it would be based on the reverse order of the final standings. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan finished last with just 36 points.

Rimouski's Alexis Lafreniere, the projected No.1 draft pick for the 2020 NHL draft, led the QMJHL with 112 points in 52 games and was the only player to reach the 100-point plateau this season. Chicoutimi's Alexis Shank led all goalies with 36 wins.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, the WHL joined the QMJHL in shuttering the regular season.

The announcement comes following a meeting by the WHL's Board of Governors. Like the QMJHL, the WHL will base its final regular season standings on win percentage, with the Portland Winterhawks retaining first place.

The Spokane Chiefs' Adam Beckman, a Minnesota Wild draft pick in 2019, was the lone player to reach 100 points, finishing with 48 goals and 107 points. Calgary Flames prospect and Everett Silvertips goaltender Dustin Wolf led all goalies in wins (34, tied with Joel Hofer), shutouts (nine), save percentage (.935) and goals-against average (1.88).

UPDATE: The OHL has finished off the trifecta of cancellation announcements, announcing that the league has put an end to the regular season. The season was set to complete on March 22.

“In the interest of the safety of our players, officials, staff, fans and the general public, it’s been agreed that the cancellation of the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season is the proper course of action to take at this time,” David Branch OHL commissioner said.

Like the rest of the CHL, the status of the OHL playoffs have yet to be determined. The league has chosen to freeze the standings after 61 games, with the Ottawa 67s finishing in first with 99 points. The OHL's priority selection, which takes place online, will still occur on April 4. The North Bay Battalion will hold the first overall pick, with Niagara and Sarnia filling out the top three spots.

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