The Kelowna Rockets pose for a picture with the Memorial Cup after winning in 2004. (Contributed)

CHL cancels 2020 Memorial Cup in Kelowna due to COVID-19 concerns

It will be the first time in CHL history that the trophy will not be awarded

The Canadian Hockey League has announced the cancellation of the 2020 Memorial Cup in Kelowna.

The announcement came on March 23 after the league continued to monitor the latest updates and advice from all public health agencies and medical experts while working tirelessly to determine a scenario by which the balance of the season could be played.

Unfortunately, due to growing concerns surrounding the pandemic, the Canadian Hockey League, in association with its three other leagues, the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, made the decision to cancel the remainder of the season, playoffs and Memorial Cup.

“We are truly devastated to not be bringing this event to Kelowna in May,” said 2020 Memorial Cup committee chair, Tom Dyas.

“We’ve been working so hard with our local committee, partners, sponsors and volunteers over the last year and having to cancel this event is something that we never expected. We know that the health and safety of the community needs to come first, so we are supportive of the CHL’s decision to cancel the 2020 Memorial Cup.”

READ MORE: Canada refuses to go to Tokyo Games in 2020, asks for one-year postponement

Kelowna Rockets General Manager Bruce Hamilton said playing the tournament came with too much risk.

“These are unprecedented times in our leagues, it will be the first time that a team isn’t hoisting a Memorial Cup at the end of the season,” said Hamilton.

“We had a lot of discussions within our leagues and with the CHL over the past weeks. It was a tough decision to cancel the Memorial Cup, but with the uncertainty right now, we feel that it is the right one.”

The CHL is now looking forward to the next season with hopes the Memorial Cup will be presented when the tournament is hosted by the OHL in May 2021.

READ MORE: A trip down memory lane: 5 of the best single-season player performances in Kelowna Rockets history


Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at daniel.taylor@kelownacapnews.com
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