Cue the naysayers to having the host team get a free pass to the Memorial Cup.
But the format that needs changing is more the WHL Playoff format than the Memorial Cup. Moose Jaw and Swift Current will play in round two.
The first and second best teams in the league facing off before the midway point of the playoffs is a bad format.
The Memorial Cup format is what it is. To have the three league champs play in a neutral site wouldn’t be good for business and you can’t decide a host late because of the need to book hotels and travel for teams and league officials.
A best of seven series between say Kootenay and Rimouski would be a logistical nightmare if they’re travelling between cities. A rink and city that can handle a major event is a necessity for the Canadian Hockey League.
Plus, the Telus Cup, Allan Cup, RBC Cup, U-Sports national championships — I could go on — all allow hosts a free pass to the championship tournament because they need to be organized to handle multiple teams in the round robin.
There will never be a perfect format, but this current one allows the Memorial Cup to be an event, rather than just another hockey series.