WHL announces new 68-game schedule for 2018-19 Regular Season
Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today its new reduced schedule of 68 games for the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season.
For the first time in WHL history, teams will play a 68-game regular season schedule, amounting to 748 games across the League. The WHL Board of Governors previously approved the decision to reduce its schedule from 72 games to the new 68-game format on October 5, 2017 in Calgary.
The WHL Regular Season schedule will begin Friday, September 21, as eight teams host season-opening games.
The defending WHL Champion Swift Current Broncos open the season at home, welcoming the Saskatoon Blades on Friday, September 21. The defending WHL Western Conference Champion Everett Silvertips will open their campaign on the road, visiting the Vancouver Giants on Friday, September 21, before returning home to host the Giants the following night.
In addition to the WHL’s regular season schedule, the WHL and the cities of Kamloops and Vancouver will serve as the official hosts for two games of the 2018 CIBC Canada Russia Series in November. Team WHL will face the Russian National Junior Team in Kamloops on Monday, November 5, and in Vancouver on Tuesday, November 6.
WHL teams have played a 72-game schedule 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.
Once again, the bulk of WHL regular season games will be played on weekends. Under the new 68-game format, the number of games on weekends and holidays will increase significantly. 607 games will be played on weekends, holidays and over the Christmas break, which accounts for 81 per cent of all games during the 2018-19 regular season. This marks an increase from the 585 games (74 per cent) played on weekends, holidays and over the Christmas break during the 2017-18 WHL Regular Season.
The most significant weekday change is seen on Wednesday, where 30 fewer games will be played in 2018-19 (98 games versus 128 games in 2017-18). In total, 49 fewer weekday games will be played in 2018-19 than during the 2017-18 season (188 in 2018-19 versus 237 in 2017-18).
2018-19 WHL Regular Season Schedule by Day versus 2017-18 WHL Regular Season Schedule by Day
2018-19 Total Games: 748
2017-18 Total Games: 792
2018-19 vs. 2017-18:
Friday 231 (30.8%) 228 (28.8%)
Saturday 240 (32.0%) 234 (29.5%)
Sunday 90 (12.0%) 93 (11.7%)
Monday 15 (2.0%) 16 (2.0%)
Tuesday 69 (9.2%) 82 (10.4%)
Wednesday 98 (13.1%) 128 (16.2%)
Thursday 6 (0.8%) 11 (1.4%)
The 748-game WHL Regular Season concludes Sunday, March 17, with the 2019 WHL Playoffs and the battle for the Ed Chynoweth Cup beginning Friday, March 22.
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.