Vancouver, BC – The Western Hockey League concluded its Annual General Meeting today in Vancouver, highlighted by the announcement of a series of plans and special events associated with the WHL’s upcoming 50th anniversary season. The WHL was established in the 1966-67 season.
The WHL’s 50th anniversary season will officially open on Thursday, September 24th in Moose Jaw, SK when the Warriors host the Regina Pats. The East Division is considered the birthplace of the WHL and Moose Jaw is the home of the first ever WHL championship team. The Moose Jaw Canucks became the first League champions when they defeated the Regina Pats to close the WHL’s inaugural season of 1966-67.
“We are excited to celebrate the rich history of our League next season,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “We have been fortunate to have many talented players, excellent teams and exceptional people in the WHL since 1966, and we truly look forward to honouring these individuals and sharing the story of our League throughout our 50th anniversary season.”
The WHL also announced that a commemorative 50th anniversary season book will be published which will detail the history of the League as well as its Clubs, builders, players and key members. The book will be released in September.
Fans will also be able to have their say as the WHL announces its Top 50 Players of All-Time next season. In addition to a select panel of WHL historians, fans can vote to help determine the best players ever to suit up in the WHL. Each week, the WHL will also honour two of its 49 League Championship teams leading up to the 2016 WHL Playoffs with ‘Championship Tuesdays.’
Each WHL Club will host a game next year to commemorate the WHL’s 50th anniversary season and honour the history of its franchise and alumni.
In addition to further initiatives during the 50th anniversary season to be announced at a later time, the WHL will host a series of CHL special events throughout the course of the year. The Subway Super Series will begin in Kelowna on November 9th and will also see Kamloops host game two on November 10th. The 2016 CHL/NHL Top Prospects game will be held in Vancouver on January 28th. Finally, the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup will see the host Red Deer Rebels and the 50th WHL Champion battle for the top prize in junior hockey from May 19-29 as the event returns to Alberta for the first time in over 40 years.