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Report: CHL, broadcasters exploring March Madness format for Memorial Cup

CHL Memorial Cup Hockey

Edmonton Oil Kings captain Griffin Reinhart, right, lifts the Memorial Cup after defeating the Guelph Storm in the championship game of the Memorial Cup CHL hockey tournament in London, Ontario, on Sunday, May 25, 2014. The Oil Kings won 6-3. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Dave Chidley)


Click here to read a Google-translated story (French to English) from La Presse about possible changes to the Memorial Cup tournament.

According to the story, the CHL, in tandem with broadcaster Sportsnet, is considering a change from the current format to a March Madness-like format.

This vision implies to have more than four teams in contention to play more playoff games to generate interest and disseminate more games to attract more viewers.

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

Writes junior hockey blog, Buzzing The Net:

Hypothetically, a 16-team single-elimination tournament offers 15 games, each one with real stakes. That is an improvement over an eight- or nine-game tournament that doesn’t really start until its second weekend.

We’ll add to that hypothetical. Let’s say the top two teams from each of the three leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) get automatic bids for reaching their respective postseason championship series, plus nine more teams receive at-large bids as selected by a committee (controversy potential!), plus one bid for the host city. Voila, 16 teams. Set the bracket and play.

Is it feasible? Well, that’s for the powers that be to decide. Any big junior hockey fans, feel free to share your comments below.

The 2015 Memorial Cup will be played in Quebec City under the current format.