March 20, 2013, Calgary, AB (ISN) – Ron Robison, Commissioner of the Western Hockey League, officially launched the 2013 WHL Playoffs and the Countdown to the Cups at a League-wide media conference in Saskatoon, SK, on Wednesday.
The 2013 WHL Playoffs and the road to the Ed Chynoweth Cup and the MasterCard Memorial Cup begin on Thursday night as the East Division Champion Saskatoon Blades host the Medicine Hat Tigers and the Calgary Hitmen welcome the Swift Current Broncos. The other six first-round series’ open on Friday night.
“It is very exciting to launch the 2013 WHL Playoffs and the Countdown to the Cups in Saskatoon, site of the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “The first round of the WHL Playoffs always generates lots of excitement, and even more this season as the top eight teams in each conference battle to capture the Ed Chynoweth Cup and a berth in the MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament.”
The WHL’s Eastern and Western Conferences will use a Conference playoff format for the 2013 WHL Playoffs. The first place teams in the two Divisions, in each Conference, will receive the top two playoff seeds based on regular season points. The next six Clubs in each Conference, based on regular season points, will receive the 3rd – 8th playoff positions. The Clubs will be paired 1 – 8, 2 – 7, 3 – 6, and 4 – 5 in a best-of-seven series. The first place Clubs in each Division will only be guaranteed the top two playoff seeds in the first round.
The Husky WHL Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals feature the defending WHL Champion Edmonton Oil Kings (1) facing the Kootenay Ice (8), the Saskatoon Blades (2) taking on the Medicine Hat Tigers (7), the Calgary Hitmen (3) battling the Swift Current Broncos (6), and the Red Deer Rebels (4) opening up against the Prince Albert Raiders (5). In the Kal Tire WHL Western Conference Quarter-Finals, the WHL regular-season champion Portland Winterhawks (1) will take on the Everett Silvertips (8), the B.C. Division champion Kelowna Rockets (2) face off against the Seattle Thunderbirds (7), the Kamloops Blazers (3) go up against B.C. Division rivals the Victoria Royals (6) while the Spokane Chiefs (4) face U.S. Division archrivals the Tri-City Americans (5).
The WHL’s Prestige Partners Kal Tire and Husky will be presenting sponsors of the 2013 WHL Playoffs and title sponsors of the HUSKY WHL Eastern Conference and Kal Tire Western Conference Championships. As presenting sponsors of the WHL Playoffs, Husky and Kal Tire brands will be featured prominently in all western Canadian playoff venues during all four rounds of the 2013 WHL Playoffs.
The WHL is also pleased to announce that SHAW TV will continue to provide extensive coverage of the WHL Playoffs by broadcasting an entire playoff series in each of the four rounds en route to the Ed Chynoweth Cup. SHAW TV will kick off their 2013 WHL Playoff coverage featuring the 2013 East Division champion Saskatoon Blades and the Medicine Hat Tigers. The series begins on Thursday, March 21st at 7:00pm MT at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon and can be seen LIVE on SHAW Channel 304 and SHAW Direct Channel 299.
WHL Live webcasts will also cover the entire 2013 WHL Playoffs with the WHL’s digital media partner Neulion. All games will be available via webcast on the WHL Live website providing WHL fans the opportunity to watch their favorite club from anywhere in the world.
The Western Hockey League will host the 2013 WHL Awards Luncheon and Bantam Draft at the Deerfoot Inn in Calgary, Alberta, this year. The WHL Awards Luncheon, held annually to recognize the WHL’s top performers from the regular season, will be held on Wednesday, May 1st, while the annual WHL Bantam Draft will take place on Thursday, May 2nd.
The WHL and the City of Saskatoon, SK, will serve as hosts for the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup. The Saskatoon Blades will be joined by the WHL Champions, Ontario Hockey League Champions and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Champions from May 17 – 26, 2013.
The Western Hockey League is pleased to acknowledge our prestige partners Kal Tire and Husky and thank both corporations for their extensive support of the WHL and its member Clubs. The WHL would also like to recognize our elite partner BMO Financial Group and our official partners RE/MAX, General Paint, the Insurance Brokers Association of Western Canada, Sandman Hotels, Post Cereals, Subway, Denny’s, MasterCard, Home Hardware, Dickies, Chrysler, John Deere, Stagg Chili, Xplornet, Travelodge, Old Dutch, State Farm, Jack Link’s, Reebok/CCM and Gatorade, together with our broadcast partners SHAW TV, Root Sports, Rogers Sportsnet and NeuLion.