October 5, 2017 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Kelowna Rockets
The Western Hockey League announced today the WHL Board of Governors has adopted a 68-game schedule for the WHL Regular Season, effective for the 2018-19 season. The decision was made at the WHL Board of Governors meeting, which was held Wednesday in Calgary.
The WHL Regular Season schedule currently sees each team play 72 games, which has been the case since the 1975-76 season. Playing four less games during the Regular Season will serve to reduce travel and balance the schedule while providing more time for players to focus on training and skill development, as well as their academic studies. Further details on the schedule format will be released at a later date.
"This has been in the works for a while now, and it has just been a matter of deciding on a time of when to make the move from 72 to 68. It's designed to benefit the players. The players will get more time at school, and they'll have more time for practice and skill development which is what we feel the players need," Said Kelowna Rockets General Manager Bruce Hamilton. "Most importantly, we need to look after them in the sense that their well-being is our main concern. We've eliminated four games, two on the road, and we really feel that their academics and their skill development will benefit from that."
The Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League currently play a 68-game regular season schedule. With the WHL reduction in games, it will result in all three Canadian Hockey League member leagues playing the same number of games.
"By reducing our WHL Regular Season schedule, I believe this further demonstrates our WHL Club commitment to providing our players with the best possible environment to develop, both as hockey players and student athletes," commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. "The WHL takes great pride in being a world leader in player development and education opportunities, and we are fully committed to enhancing our player experience on an ongoing basis."