When to axe the “host team” format

Now I know this is an unpopular opinion, but if you don’t win your way into a tournament you don’t deserve to be there.

I actually couldn’t give two damns if the Regina Pats “proved” they can play with the leagues best, they don’t deserve a shot at the Mem Cup. I don’t care if the Chilliwack Chiefs can win in a single elimination format, they couldn’t win in hockey’s best-of-seven format.

The fact of the matter is these host teams that don’t succeed in their league playoffs have a major advantage. Not only are they playing at home, in front of their fans, sleeping in their bed and enjoying the comfort of their own dressing room, but they also get extra rest when they lose out in playoffs.

Take the RBC Cup for example, three of the past four champions have been host teams (Portage, Cobourg, Chilliwack), plus Lloyd was a runner up in 2016. Portage is the only team out of the group who actually won their league. Even though they lost in the Western Canada Cup, at least they finished the dance in their own league (MJHL).

In the CHL, host teams winning is less common, in the past 14 years, five host teams have won (Windsor, Shawinigan, Vancouver, London, Kelowna). The thing that gets me about the host format in Major Juniors is that five other times it was host teams that were runners up, four of those five teams didn’t win their league again.

Now I don’t have a master plan to replace the current format, but put yourself in a players shoes who’s just played four tough seven-game series. You’ve earned your way to the biggest tournament of your life and you get matched up against a fresh team who’s had 40+ days off. Find me someone who thinks that’s fair and I’ll find you a liar.

Follow me on Twitter, @Janner31_

 

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