By Fred Wallace
As the Canadian Hockey League Junior Hockey season concluded yesterday with the Memorial Cup Championship game in Rimouski, the concept of altering the Memorial Cup format will once again be floated.
This tournament format, while generating a solid level of excitement for almost 40 years, has drawbacks.
First, Junior Hockey, and hockey in general is a marathon where the league champions and the playoff champions are rewarded for consistency from start to finish.
In the Memorial Cup format as is, the potential of 3 bad nights can undo 8 months of good work. It nearly happened to Windsor this week.
Next, with a tournament and a host entry, it's good for business, but it leaves the door wide open for unsuitable entries, see Hamilton 1990, which to the organizers credit that year got altered for the better.
Furthermore, with a non-champion host entry on a yearly basis, the potential always exists that a bogus champion will emerge.
The 1999 Ottawa 67's were wiped out in the second round of the OHL playoffs, yet the record shows, they were and will always be, the Memorial Cup winners.
No offense to the Ottawa organization, but to me, that's an example of how money & sporting politics won the day, moreso than hockey ability.
Which is also why the format as it exists will likely remain.
There's far more money to be made from a host entry and a controlled site as it stands now than there would be from a traditional best of 7 Championship.
I'm Fred Wallace