RELEASE / FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2019
Club Logos – LINK
Opening Week Logo – LINK
WHL Official Guide – LINK
Player Headshots – LINK
& WHL Club Previews – LINK
WHL Live rate for Media – LINK
Saskatoon, Sask. – Western Hockey League
Commissioner Ron Robison officially launched the 2019-20 WHL Regular Season
Friday from Saskatoon. Beginning this evening, the WHL enters its 54th
season as all 22 WHL member Clubs across Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific
Northwest open their quest to hoist the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL Champions.
“This is the time of year everyone associated with the WHL, especially our
players and fans, can’t wait to get another season underway,” commented WHL
Commissioner Ron Robison. “As the world’s top producer of NHL talent at this
year’s Draft, the WHL and our member Clubs take great pride in not only
providing the highest level of competition in the system but also the most
comprehensive education and scholarship program. We are looking forward to another
very competitive season as our Clubs battle for the Ed Chynoweth Cup and a
berth in the 2020 Memorial Cup in Kelowna.”
WHL Hockey Returns to Winnipeg
On Saturday, September 21, WHL hockey will return to Winnipeg for the first
time since the conclusion of the 1983-84 WHL season as the Winnipeg ICE are set
to debut against their Manitoba rivals, the Brandon Wheat Kings, at Wayne
The Wayne Fleming Arena, which will be home to the ICE for two seasons,
underwent $1.2 million in upgrades this offseason.
Kelowna Prepares for 2020 Memorial Cup Presented by Kia
For the second time in three years and third time in five years, the Canadian
Hockey League’s best will compete for the Memorial Cup in Western territory as
Kelowna prepares to host the 102nd edition of the annual event from
May 22-31, 2020. The Memorial Cup returns to Kelowna for the first time since
2004, when the host Rockets claimed the national championship on home ice. Led
by Tom Dyas, Chair of the Host Committee for the 2020 Memorial Cup,
preparations are well underway.
Over $10 Million Invested in Capital Improvements to WHL Arena
All WHL Arena Facilities across Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest United
States underwent over $10 million in capital improvements prior to the start of
the 2019-20 season, including the installation of new NHL-licensed acrylic
rinkboard systems, improved video scoreboards, and upgraded lighting standards.
The improves are designed to address player safety and improve the fan experience.
Return of WHL Cup to Calgary
Following a one-year break due to the 2019 Canada Winter Games, the WHL Cup
returns to Calgary from October 22-27, 2019. Featuring the brightest U-16 stars
from the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft, Team B.C., Team Alberta, Team Saskatchewan and
Team Manitoba will all converge on Winsport’s Markin MacPhail Centre to compete
for WHL Cup supremacy. Catch tomorrow’s WHL stars as they represent their
provinces in Calgary this October.
Pats & Hitmen to Face-off in 2019 WHL Prairie Classic
The WHL is headed outdoors for the first time since 2011 as the Regina Pats
play host to the Calgary Hitmen on Sunday, October 27 at Mosaic Place. The
outdoor contest will be the third in WHL history and second featuring the Pats
and Hitmen, who previously met in 2011 at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. The event
will be part of Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic Week, which also features an
NHL outdoor game between the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets on Saturday,
October 26 at Mosaic Place.
Saskatoon & Prince Albert Host CIBC Canada Russia Series
The CIBC Canada Russia Series returns to Saskatchewan as Saskatoon and Prince
Albert will play host on November 13 and 14, respectively. The WHL’s emerging
stars will take to the ice at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon and the Art Hauser
Centre in Prince Albert as part of a six-game series featuring all three
Canadian Hockey Leagues in a preview of the 2020 IIHF World Junior
Championship, scheduled for December 26, 2019 to January 5, 2020 in Czech
Red Deer to host 2020 WHL Awards, Bantam Draft
For the third consecutive year, Red Deer will welcome the WHL Awards and Bantam
Draft on Wednesday, May 6, and Thursday, May 7, respectively.
25th Year of WHL Scholarship Sets Records; More Success
Targeted in 2020
The 2018-19 WHL season marked the 25th anniversary of the WHL
Scholarship and it was another record-setting year for North America’s premier
amateur hockey scholarship program. In total, 405 WHL graduates accessed WHL
Scholarships over the course of the 2018-19 academic season, representing
contributions by WHL Ownership in excess of $2.7 million last year alone. The
405 WHL Scholarships represent a record-high for the program.
With over 6,000 WHL Scholarships having been accessed by WHL graduate players
since 1993-94, WHL Clubs have made an investment of over $25 million over the
history of the WHL Scholarship program.
As more WHL graduates choose to access their WHL Scholarship, the expectation
is that the WHL Scholarship program will once again set records in 2019-20. The
WHL projects exceeding 390 WHL Scholarships awarded to graduate players during
the Fall 2019 academic semester alone.
Every player who plays in the WHL is eligible to receive the WHL Scholarship.
For every season a player plays in the WHL, they receive a guaranteed,
full-year WHL Scholarship, including tuition, textbooks and compulsory fees to
a post-secondary institution of their choice. WHL players can also access
financial assistance for post-secondary courses while playing in the League
prior to accessing their WHL Scholarship. The WHL and Athabasca University have
partnered to offer, through online and other distance education vehicles,
fully-accredited university courses to any WHL player or WHL Graduate
interested in further pursuing post-secondary studies while playing in the WHL
or after they graduate from the League.
What We Stand For: The WHL Player Experience
The WHL is fully committed to providing our players with a world-class hockey
experience. We believe our WHL Member Clubs offer our players the highest
quality of hockey experience available in the world today and this can be best
described by our three key cornerstones: Development, Education and the
We provide the highest level of competition for junior age players in North
America. The quality of our coaching, facilities and professional support
services offers the ideal setting for players to develop their skills. The 2019-20
WHL Regular Season sees the return of an elite group of coaches with extensive
NHL and international experience, including Dave Lowry (Brandon Wheat Kings),
Willie Desjardins (Medicine Hat Tigers), and Manny Viveiros (Spokane Chiefs).
The WHL offers the most comprehensive education program in North America. WHL
Clubs are governed by League-wide education standards to ensure players not
only achieve their high school academic goals, but also qualify for
post-secondary studies. While playing in the WHL, players receive financial
assistance for post-secondary course. The WHL also offers a full guaranteed
scholarship to all our players, which can be applied to any post-secondary
institution of choice.
The WHL is committed to offering the best possible experience we can for our
players, including a mandatory series of national health and wellness programs,
such as the CHL Drug Education and Anti-Doping program, the Red Cross RespectEd
program and our new Canadian Mental Health initiatives, among others. When
combined with our WHL Seven Point Plan player safety initiative, these programs
provide our players with a safe and healthy environment in which to develop.
WHL Community Initiatives
The WHL is proud to give back to its communities through a number of community
initiatives scheduled for throughout the 2019-20 season, including the third
run of RE/MAX presents WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation.
This campaign has proven to be one of the single largest organ donor awareness
campaigns the Kidney Foundation of Canada has ever seen. With the support of
Don Cherry, his family and the entire Coach’s Corner team, the 2019-20 edition
of RE/MAX presents WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation will
be the best one yet.
In 14 Canadian markets across the WHL, Wawanesa will be hosting Toy Drives as
part of WHL game nights. This initiative will see toys collected and
distributed to a number of local charities across WHL markets and is part of a
larger initiative across the entire CHL that ensures underprivileged children
are provided with simple joys during their formative years.
For the second year, Fountain Tire returns with the Fountain Tire 3 Star
campaign in the WHL’s Canadian markets. The program will once again recognize
outstanding citizens who give back to their community. During the 2018-19 WHL
season, a number of tremendous individuals were called upon as part of the
Fountain Tire 3 Star campaign and recognized for incredible efforts in their community.
Beginning in mid-October, the 2019-20 edition of the campaign will call for
nominations of this year’s local “3 Stars” and includes an in-venue
presentation in January and February 2020 to recognize those outstanding
citizens and what they do to make their communities a better place to live in.
There will be a handful of banner raisings throughout the opening weekend of
the 2019-20 WHL season, providing special memories for fans across Western
Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
On Friday, September 20, the Prince Albert Raiders will send four banners to
the rafters of the Art Hauser in recognition of their Ed Chynoweth Cup victory,
2018-19 WHL Regular Season Championship, WHL East Division title and WHL
Eastern Conference crown. With the rival Saskatoon Blades visiting, the
excitement will reach a fever pitch.
The Everett Silvertips will raise the Club’s seventh U.S. Division championship
banner at Angel of the Winds Arena on Friday, September 20, when they welcome
the Tri-City Americans to town.
The Vancouver Giants will send two new banners to the rafters of the Langley
Events Centre to celebrate their 2018-19 B.C. Division title and WHL Western
Conference crown on Friday, September 27, when they open their home slate against
the Portland Winterhawks.
In Edmonton, the Oil Kings will celebrate their 2018-19 Central Division
championship banner at Rogers Place on Sunday, September 22. Fans can bear
witness to the Oil Kings Central Division championship banner in Ford Hall as
they enter Rogers Place prior to the game.
The Medicine Hat Tigers will be celebrating 50 seasons of hockey in Southern
Alberta. Established in 1970, the Tigers represent one of the most storied
franchises in WHL history, having claimed five WHL Championships (1973, 1987,
1988 2004, 2007) and two Memorial Cup titles (1987, 1988) since inception.
Up the road, the Calgary Hitmen celebrate 25 seasons of hockey in the Stampede
City. First taking to the ice in 1995, the Hitmen also serve as a modern day
WHL success, having staked out WHL Championship titles in 1999 and 2010.
NOTES FOR MEDIA: Approved 2019-20 CHL/WHL Media
Accreditation has been distributed. Please inquire with your local WHL Club to
collect. Should you not receive your credentials prior to the start of the
season, 2018-19 CHL/WHL Accreditation will be valid through WHL Opening Week
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players,
the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The
WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in
the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has
been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50
years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over
350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary
education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of
Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.