Veteran Portland Winterhawks sniper Ty Rattie (Marissa Baecker, Getty Images)So run, that you may obtain. There is winning a league championship in the Canadian Hockey League and there is winning the MasterCard Memorial Cup.
One of junior hockey's conundrums is the first and less publicly prestigious step is more difficult, requiring winning four best-of-7 series instead of a 10-day tournament. In another one of the CHL's cruel inventions that has essentially happened organically (it better have!), the ability to win a league title does not actually confer the ability to hoist the Memorial Cup. For starters, the CHL lets a host team which is often less playoff-weary into the tournament, plus some teams simply cannot reprise the energy, the edge that helped them mow through the league playoffs.
A lot of dust flew around during the trade deadlines in all three leagues this week. It will still take time to settle as teams blend in their big acquisitions. At best, it's only a guess at how how the Kitchener Rangers will look by March with Frank Corrado on their blueline and Josh Leivo on the wing or whether adding crafty centre Vince Trocheck helps the Plymouth Whalers vault from sixth in their conference to contention in the OHL. There is a honest heartfelt belief that a team has to be doing something.
As Owen Sound Attack general manager Dale DeGray put it to Sportsnet's Patrick King, "You have to send a message to your dressing room what we want to compete... We want to try to win this whole thing and if you don't, I think the feeling in the dressing room can sort of go awry." So, now that it's out of the way, who looks like it has a legitimate argument for raising the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon on May 26?Read More »from Memorial Cup favourites, now that the trade deadline is over