May Madness to replace Memorial Cup format?

Anyone who even casually follows NCAA basketball suddenly becomes a full fan of the game by the time March rolls around every year. The reason? March Madness. Sixty eight teams playing a single elimination tournament over a three week span creates more hype and excitement than any other college sports tournament.

Could the same concept work for the Canadian Hockey League? That is the question that CHL brass and Rogers Sportsnet are now considering.

According to an article in (translated version here), the CHL and the Memorial Cup television broadcaster, Sportsnet, are looking at options to revitalize the Memorial Cup tournament format.

Among the concepts being explored is the possibility of expanding the number of teams entered into the tournament as well as the introduction of elimination games, which would give the Memorial Cup the unpredictability of the March Madness tournament.

“I like the idea in concept. We discussed it with the CHL”, Sportsnet President Scott Moore told the LaPress. “We would support a change in format, but we must still be careful when doing things like this not to spoil what is already a beautiful tradition in Canada.”

The new format would feature more teams and more games.

“Whenever the content increases, it’s great for us,” Moore said. “What is good with March Madness in the United States is that it lasts three weeks and several rivalries are born.”

The new format for the tournament would also eliminate the problem of having a weak host team being granted an automatic entry into the tournament.

“The host team is always a challenge in the Memorial Cup,” said Moore. “Is the host team really competitive? When it is not, it has a negative effect on the tournament.”

Should the Memorial Cup format be changed? If the proposed format can duplicate the hype and excitement of March Madness, changing the tournament is a no brainer.


Kevin Legros

Kevin Legros is the Executive Editor of and the Managing Editor of the OHL Blog. He follows all local sports in the Niagara Region including the Niagara IceDogs, where he has been a season ticket holder since the first season.

Kevin was involved in the process of planning for the IceDogs new home arena, the Meridian Centre, which included sitting as a member of the Mayor’s Task Force Committee, the St. Catharines Entertainment and Sports Complex Advocacy Committee and the Meridian Centre Fundraising Task Force Committee.


  1. rick the fan

    September 6, 2014 at 2:32 am

    I love this idea. I hate seeing the host team in the tourny especially when they lose in the 1st or 2nd round of the playoffs. A 3 team tournament would be awkward and without the hometown having a team in the memorial cup, attendance would suffer. A ncaa style tournament would be great but how many teams would you have and how would they be selected.

  2. bob

    September 6, 2014 at 9:07 am

    No way, go back to the old format before the tournament started. The winner of the Q and the O played the West.

    each other in a best of seven. I remember a few great series.

  3. Bobby Boucher

    September 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Pretty cool idea.. How I could see it working… 3 league champs ranked 1-3. 3 league finalists ranked 4-6. 7-12 are the teams that lost out in the 3rd round of their respective leagues. Spots 13-16 would be the top ranked teams of all the teams that lost in the 2nd round of their respective league playoffs. The tournament is played in the 7 canadian nhl arenas with the finals being played at the ACC (center of the universe). It is only 4 extra games to win mem cup final. If spread over 2 weeks travel would not be too big of an issue. Every team in the CHL that makes it to 3rd round has a shot at the mem while the top teams in the 2nd round have a chance too. Obviously there are kinks to work out but COULD be a really cool idea