(Photo Credit: Victoria Royals – Jon Howe / Erie Otters – Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The 2015-16 CHL season has drawn to a close, but another is on the horizon as the road to the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Red Deer, Alberta continues with playoff time upon us.
There were several highlights from another fast-paced season of hockey across the CHL, including back-to-back leading scorer Conor Garland of the Moncton Wildcats, who is the first player since Sidney Crosby in 2004 and 2005 to lead the country in scoring.
The leading scorer in Wildcats history, Garland stretched his impressive career total to 328 points (104-224–328), coming a point shy of his 2014-15 total with 39 goals, 89 assists and 128 points in 62 games.
A fifth round (123rd overall) pick of the Arizona Coyotes at the 2015 NHL Draft, Garland is poised to make the jump to the next level after back-to-back years of triple digit outputs.
Elsewhere in the QMJHL, the Quebec Remparts set a new CHL attendance record as 470,384 spectators came through the turnstyles over 34 home games at the brand new Centre Videotron this season.
At the top of the standings the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies won their first Jean-Rougeau Trophy since 2008. Awarded to the QMJHL’s regular season champions, the honours go to the Huskies after they played to a 54-9-3-2 record this season, good for 113 points while leading the QMJHL with 302 goals for.
Looking to Ontario, the Erie Otters made OHL history this past season, becoming the league’s first team to record three consecutive 50-win seasons. They join the 2012-15 Kelowna Rockets, the 2011-14 Edmonton Oil Kings, the 2009-12 Saint John Sea Dogs and the 1989-92 Kamloops Blazers as the fifth franchise in CHL history to accomplish the feat.
The Otters won the OHL’s Hamilton Spectator Trophy, awarded to the league’s regular season champions, after playing to a mark of 52-15-1-0. The Otters win their second Hamilton Spectator Trophy in franchise history and first since 2001 as they embark on the 2016 playoffs having won five series in the past two years.
Moving westward, the Victoria Royals were the WHL’s Scotty Munro Trophy recipients, earning the honours for the first time in their history with a record of 50-16-3-3.
Victoria strung together 13 straight wins to end the season as Tyler Soy’s 46 goals set a new Royals record while Alex Forsberg’s 91 points is the new benchmark in the club’s five-year history.
The 2015-16 WHL season ended in the sixth tie-break game in league history as Luke Bertolucci helped the Edmonton Oil Kings dig out of a 2-0 deficit to come back and defeat the Medicine Hat Tigers 6-4 on the road. The Oil Kings will face the conference’s first place Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round of the WHL Playoffs.
48 teams set out on the road to the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup this week, vying for a spot in Red Deer starting May 19th.
Here’s a look at first round playoff matchups across the CHL:
(1) Brandon Wheat Kings (48-18-4-2) vs. (WC2) Edmonton Oil Kings (29-36-6-1)
(ED 2) Prince Albert Raiders (28-26-7-1) vs. (ED 3) Moose Jaw Warriors (36-27-7-2)
(CD 1) Lethbridge Hurricanes (46-24-1-1) vs. (WC 1) Regina Pats (36-28-3-5)
(CD 2) Red Deer Rebels (45-24-1-2) vs. (CD 3) Calgary Hitmen (42-26-2-2)
(BC 1) Victoria Royals (50-16-3-3) vs. (WC 2) Spokane Chiefs (33-30-5-4)
(BC 2) Kelowna Rockets (48-20-4-0) vs. (BC 3) Kamloops Blazers (38-25-5-4)
(US 1) Seattle Thunderbirds (45-23-4-0) vs. (WC 1) Prince George Cougars (36-31-3-2)
(US 2) Everett Silvertips (38-26-5-3) vs. (US 3) Portland Winterhawks (34-31-6-1)
(1) Kingston Frontenacs (46-17-3-2) vs. (8) Oshawa Generals (27-33-4-4)
(2) Barrie Colts (43-22-0-3) vs. (7) Mississauga Steelheads (33-30-2-3)
(3) North Bay Battalion (35-23-6-4) vs. (6) Peterborough Petes (33-28-2-5)
(4) Niagara IceDogs (35-26-4-3) vs. (5) Ottawa 67’s (36-29-2-1)
(1) Erie Otters (52-15-1-0) vs. (8) Saginaw Spirit (24-26-5-3)
(2) Sarnia Sting (42-19-5-2) vs. (7) Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (33-27-7-1)
(3) London Knights (51-14-2-1) vs. (6) Owen Sound Attack (32-25-8-3)
(4) Kitchener Rangers (44-17-5-2) vs. (5) Windsor Spitfires (40-21-6-1)
(1) Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (54-9-3-2) vs. (16) Drummondville Voltigeurs (27-39-2-0)
(2) Shawinigan Cataractes (44-19-4-1) vs. (15) Sherbrooke Phoenix (24-35-7-2)
(3) Saint John Sea Dogs (42-20-6-0) vs. (14) Acadie-Bathurst Titan (27-35-3-3)
(4) Val-d’Or Foreurs (49-15-3-1) vs. (13) Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (26-32-8-2)
(5) Gatineau Olympiques (46-19-2-1) vs. (12) Quebec Remparts (28-33-6-1)
(6) Moncton Wildcats (36-21-9-2) vs. (11) Victoriaville Tigres (33-28-3-4)
(7) Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (38-24-5-1) vs. (10) Chicoutimi Sagueneens (32-25-5-6)
(8) Rimouski Oceanic (36-25-5-2) vs. (9) Charlottetown Islanders (35-26-5-2)