The Western Hockey League (WHL) is part of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). As a major junior ice hockey league, the WHL is based in Western Canada and the Northwestern United States. The WHL is also one of three leagues that make up the CHL. The other leagues include the Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Teams within the WHL compete for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, with the winner moving on to play for the Memorial Cup. The latter is Canada’s national junior ice hockey championship, and WHL teams have won the Memorial Cup 19 times to date.

League History and Teams

The WHL was founded in 1966 as the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League (CMJHL). It featured seven western Canadian teams based in Saskatchewan and Alberta. However, the league was renamed the Western Canadian Hockey League (WCHL) in 1967. It was later simplified to WHL starting in 1978. Today, the WHL is compromised of 22 teams divided into two conferences and two divisions. This includes the Eastern Conference, which features 12 teams from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The Western Conference features 10 teams from British Columbia and the US states of Washington and Oregon.

The WHL defending champions are the Seattle Thunderbirds from Washington State. The Kamloops Blazers from British Columbia have the most WHL league titles with six championships. Here is a full list of all teams that will compete in the upcoming 2017-18 season:

Eastern Conference

East Division

  • Brandon Wheat Kings
  • Moose Jaw Warriors
  • Prince Albert Raiders
  • Regina Pats
  • Saskatoon Blades
  • Swift Current Broncos

Central Division

  • Calgary Hitmen (Team named after Bret “The Hitman” Hart)
  • Edmonton Oil Kings
  • Kootenay Ice
  • Lethbridge Hurricanes
  • Medicine Hat Tigers
  • Red Deer Rebels

Western Conference

B.C. Division

  • Kamloops Blazers (Most WHL League Championships with 6)
  • Kelowna Rockets
  • Prince George Cougars
  • Vancouver Giants
  • Victoria Royals

U.S.A Division

  • Everett Silvertips
  • Portland Winterhawks
  • Seattle Thunderbirds (Current WHL League Champions)
  • Spokane Chiefs
  • Tri-City Americans

Upcoming Season Preview – 2017-18

The official regular season of the WHL began on September 22, 2017. The season opener will feature the Regina Pats versus the Brandon Wheat Kings at Westman Place, Manitoba. The defending champions, the Seattle Thunderbirds, are looking for a repeat championship performance this season. In fact, the Thunderbirds are favored – once again – to win the Chynoweth Cup and move on to the Memorial Cup.

For more information on the WHL, including players and stats – simply visit:

http://whl.ca

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