2016 WHL PLAYOFF BRACKET: LIVE BLOG
The 2016 WHL Playoffs are here and we thought it would be fun to celebrate with a daily updated live blog page focused around a league-wide playoff bracket. The live blog will take us through from now (Wednesday, March 16th) to the end of the playoffs. We will update it every day to display the status of each series as we move from the first round on through to the finals.
We will also throw up any relevant information as the playoffs progress. Links to news articles, interesting stories, forums, photos, and much more. We’ll curate everything we can and regularly update the page so that you don’t have to scour the internet.
Thanks for visiting, enjoy the Live Blog, and be sure to pass on any relevant materials so we can add them to the page.
*Note: This bracket was influenced heavily by the work of Conrad Burry. He’s a graphic designer in Tennessee and needs to be given credit for his inspiring work.
May 05, 2016 // 10:13 am
Well hello everyone. Just wanted to pop in and apologize for the lack up updates or communication. Things really picked up for me at work around the same time the CHL 2nd round started and after a full year of intense coverage of the Hurricanes, keeping this Live Blog updated was just too much. I needed to step aside and just focus on my job and life. I’m still around! Life is good! I just havn’t been able to follow through on this project as I usually would.
I’m sorry about that and I hope you understand.
That said, the brackets are now updated! Look at that! It’s already time for the league finals.
April 10, 2016 // 3:05 pm
I am out of town for work all this weekend. Unfortunately that means I haven’t been able to update the bracket since Friday’s games. Sorry for the inconvenience.
April 9, 2016 // 2:04 pm
So I went out with a few buddies to catch up over beers last night. Ended up being a much later night than I anticipated. Slept in today!! Brackets are now updated!
April 8, 2016 // 8:48 am
After a day or two off, clubs got back underway with 2nd round action last night. There were two games in the QMJHL, two in the OHL, and just one in the WHL. The brackets have all been updated to reflect the results.
April 6, 2016 // 8:58 am
And just like that the CHL first round is already over. There were a handful of deciding games last night. Barrie managed to knock off the Steelheads, Brandon completed the comeback agianst Edmonton, North Bay ended the Pete’s season, and the Soo Greyhounds managed to pull off an upset.
The 2nd round match-ups are now set and there are a few interesting series’. The OHL’s Eastern Conference is shaping up to be a battle of titans. All four of the top-seeded teams made it through. In the Western Conference I have the London-Kitchener series circled as one to watch. Two powerhouse organizations – should be great drama there.
In the Q I am most interested in Shawinigan vs. the Islanders. Don’t be surprised to see Sprong and co push the Cataractes to the brink. Moncton and Gatineau could also prove interesting. It’s always hard to bet against Gatineau. They have outstanding coaching and seem to be a force no matter what. Finally, and with all due respect to the Armada, I don’t see the Huskie train slowing down anytime soon. My guess? A 4 -1 Noranda series victory.
Now that the Wheat Kings seem to have recovered from a rocky playoff start they have to be the favorites in the WHL’s Eastern conference. I think they are deeper, more talented, and better in net than the Warriors. Of course, with Brayden Point, Dryden Hunt, and a few other nice pieces, the Warriors stand a good chance to take this series to 6 or 7 games. Never bet against talent… in this case I just think one team has more.
In the other series, I have no reason to believe the Regina Pats won’t give Red Deer all kinds of trouble. I’m not a huge believer in this Rebels team and their playoffs could come to a crashing hault against the Pats. Regina was extremely impressive against Lethbridge… it was frustrating but commendable.
Something is going to have to break eventually between Everett and Seattle. Neither team lost a game in round 1. My money is on the T-birds. Seattle has equal or better goaltending than the ‘Tips, massive rangy blue-liners, and game breaking offense. My guess? Seattle in 6.
Finally, we have the “underdog” Royals up against the Kelowna Rockets. This should be a fantastic series! The Rockets, due to injury, are not the team they have been in the past. They managed to squeak into the 2nd round with a big game 7 OT win over the Blazers, but Victoria is a different animal. I’m a big believer in Victoria and this series might be shorter than many think. I say Royals in 5.
April 5, 2016 // 8:49 am
The bracket has been updated to reflect Sunday’s action.
April 3, 2016 // 8:53 am
*UPDATE* The brackets are now reflecting Sunday’s action as well. Big changes to the style of the brackets were made. The O and Q brackets needed some work to make more sense. They way those leagues seed rounds was misleading on the old style of bracket. I hope this makes more sense.
Once again, I apologize the update is late! This time I waited till morning! With the Hurricanes eliminated on Friday, this weekend has turned into a nice break from too much work here on the site. I remain committed to daily updates though so don’t expect the updates to be late moving forward.
Last night’s action saw the Memorial Cup hosts win their series 4 – 1 and advance to the second round. They will now face off against the Regina Pats – a team that I now know quite well. It will be a good series and one I pay close attention to.
April 2, 2016 // 12:16 am
Sorry the update is late tonight. The Hurricanes lost game 5 and are now eliminated. It was a late night of writing our final post-game wrap up. I have however, updated all the brackets. Lots of teams moved on tonight.
Remember that the QMJHL 2nd round matchups won’t be decided until all the series conclude. It’s a 1-16 system for those who don’t know. Every round the highest seed plays the lowest and so on and so forth. I will reset the bracket each round.
This was done a little more hastily than usual tonight. I apologize. Please let me know in the comments if you spot any mistakes (though there shouldn’t be any).
April 1, 2016 // 12:10 am
Another night, another team through to the second round. This time is was the heavily favored Erie Otters who got the job done as they swept the Saginaw Spirit. The Otters will have to wait a while longer to sort out their second round opponent.
In the WHL, the Brandon Wheatkings managed to tie their series with Edmonton. The Oil Kings might be running out of luck. Credit Brandon for digging themselves out of a nasty hole. As is always the case, game 5 will be defining.
The Barrie Colts managed to tie their series with the Steelheads tonight! Happy for them. Recently volunteered to help a Barrie Colts blog with some graphics so it nice to see them keep that series tight.
The reigning Memorial Cup champions also managed to cling on for dear life against Kingston. The Generals are up against it but they’re going to be a hard team to close-out.
March 31, 2016 // 12:00 am
*Everything is now up to date reflecting all the action from Wednesday*
As I type this, the Seattle Thunderbirds just scored in OT to close out their series with the Cougars. I have updated the QMJHL and OHL brackets.
We saw a handful of teams move on to the second round. In the Q the Huskies and Gatineau Olympiques have secured a second round birth. They will wait for the other six series to conclude before they find out who they will face.
In the WHL, both the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds have won their respective series as well. The second round stage is slowly being set. We will know allot more come Friday night!
March 30, 2016 // 12:05 am
Everything has been updated to reflect Tuesday’s action around the CHL. For myself, I just a full night of hockey with the Hurricanes losing to the Pats. You can read my full recap if you’re interested by heading to our home page and reading “Ex Machina”. That’s about all I can muster for now! Thanks for visiting. The next two days worth of updates will likely see the first few teams move on to the second round.
March 29, 2016 // 12:46 am
Once again I’ve updated the brackets to reflect the results from Monday. We saw a number of teams get back into their respective series’ with wins. Windsor, however, was unable to come up with a win against the Kitchener Rangers and now face an 0-3 deficit. At least for now, it appears that the Rangers will be one of the first teams through to the second round of the CHL playoffs. It’s an interesting proposition considering the Sting are currently trailing the underdog Greyhounds in their series.
In the WHL’s lone game the Raiders got a huge win over the Warriors to keep their series tight. Moose Jaw has had Prince Alberts number this season. Assuming the Wheat Kings eventually win… and I would think they might? Right?….
We could see a handful of very long series in the WHL’s Eastern Conference – not surprising considering how much equality existed between the Eastern teams heading into the post season.
March 28, 2016 // 12:08 am
The brackets have been updated to reflect the games played on Easter Sunday. There was no action in the QMJHL but we did see a few games played in the OHL and WHL. Notable wins include Red Deer and the SSM Greyhounds taking a 2 – 0 series lead over the favored Sarnia Sting.
March 27, 2016 // 12:10 am
Another busy night across the CHL. The brackets are all up to date.
March 26, 2016 // 12:05 am
We’re really rolling now. Every single series has started across the CHL… all except for Barrie and Mississauga that is. They had to postpone game one after an arena power outage on Thursday. Game one will now be played tomorrow (or today depending on when/where you’re reading this) evening.
We’re only two days into the playoffs and already there’s no shortage of drama. The heavily favored Brandon Wheat Kings find themselves in massive trouble. They dropped their first two games, at home, to the eight seed Edmonton Oil Kings. Due to the distance between Edmonton and Brandon, that series is being played as a 2-3-2. That means the Wheat Kings will have to (potentially) win three of the next five games on the road. It’s not impossible but it’s not a situation anyone expected to see.
The Wheatkings aren’t alone. In the Q we saw Shawinigan lose their opening game to the Sherbrooke Pheonix. Obviously, Shawinigan is still sitting better than Brandon, but time will tell what becomes of the Cataractes.
We saw two games go into overtime. Moncton and Victoriaville was decided in double OT while Prince George and Seattle was settled in a single OT.
Overall, it was a great opening night. Here’s your brackets.
March 25, 2016 // 12:30 am
So Im writing this in a car while caught in the midst of a blizzard between Calgary and Lerhbridge. It’s looking like we may actually get off the roads and spend the night at my parents. Apologies but that means the bracket won’t get updated till sometime around 11am MST. I don’t have the software to update the brackets on my phone.
I aplogize in advance. I’ll be back in the morning for an update!
Finally made it home and have updated the bracket. Sorry for the wait.
It didn’t take long to get our first shocking result. How about them Oil Kings!? Tonight’s game is HUGE considering it’s a 2-3-2 series. Keep your eyes peeled.
March 24, 2016 // 3:00 pm mst
The day has finally arrived! The CHL playoffs get going for real this afternoon/evening. We had a teaser on Tuesday when the Tigers squared off against Edmonton in a one-game playoff, but tonight there’s four honest to goodness playoff games across the country.
Tonight Windsor – Kitchener, Ottawa – Niagra, Mississauga – Barrie, and finally, Brandon – Edmonton all lift the lid on their respective series’. As promised, we will update these brackets either late tonight or early tomorrow morning so you can keep tabs on all the playoff happenings around the league.
Catch you later tonight!
March 23, 2016 // 10:55 am mst
The WHL playoff bracket was updated last night shortly after the Edmonton Oil Kings secured a victory over the Tigers. The win gives them a birth in the 2016 WHL playoffs and pits them against the #1 seed Brandon Wheat Kings.
Things will really pick up starting tomorrow. We will update the bracket as the results pour in .
March 22, 2016 // 9:30 am mst
Ohhhh baby here we go! No secret as to what the big game tonight is. It’s the ONLY game and it promises to be a doozy. The Edmonton Oil Kings are in Medicine Hat for a one-game, winner takes all, shot at the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It’s an incredibly interesting game filled with story-lines and intrigue. How will the Oil Kings handle the hostile environment of Medicine Hat? Can Edmonton get the monkey off their backs and actually find a way to beat the Tigers? Does their six losses to Medicine Hat play a factor mentally or are they able to put it aside and play a good game?
From a Tigers perspective, can they carry momentum forward from Saturday’s win against Lethbridge? Will they crack under pressure? IS there any pressure? They had to battle to get into this game – is that not a victory in and of itself?
As an outsider looking at this game from Lethbridge, I have to give the edge to the Tigers. They have been playing for their lives for weeks. The Oil Kings haven’t elevated their game enough to avoid this game and now they are out of options. Win or go home.
An argument could be made that Edmonton might play the Wheat Kings harder, but they may have blown their chance to prove it. Only time will tell.
Game time is 7PM at the brand new Canalta Centre in Medicine Hat. You can also catch the game online via the WHL’s streaming service or the radio. It’s Bob Ridley’s 3700th game tonight! Special shout out to him!
It seems fitting that a guy with legendary status like Bob would have the chance to make a one game playoff game a milestone. Congrats!
The WHL has announced that tonight’s game is available to stream for FREE on the WHL LIVE streaming service. Nice!
March 21, 2016 // 8:45 am mst
You may have noticed a change? That’s because we’ve expanded our bracket from the WHL to the entire CHL! Our Sunday afternoon project is now complete. These brackets will be updated daily for the next two months. Remember to click on them to bring up a higher resolution version.
It was interesting putting these brackets together because each league employs a different playoff formula. The WHL makes use of a wild-card system in conjunction with inter-conference and divisional seeding.
The OHL uses the traditional 1-8 seeding per conference which keeps things pretty straightforward.
It’s the QMJHL that throws a wrench into the bracket with their more “alternative” system. For those unaware, the “Q” doesn’t employ conferences. There are only 18 teams in the Quebec league. Two of them don’t make the playoffs. The 16 that do are ranked from 1-16 in one giant pool. The highest ranking always plays the lowest ranking beginning with the 1st round. Therefore – the bracket is totally re-drawn after every round.
If there were never any upsets it would keep things pretty simple… but as we know, upsets are fairly common in junior hockey. When it comes to our QMJHL bracket, we will be reconfiguring it after every round and “greying out” the previous round. It should make sense once it’s in action.
The idea is that CHL hockey fans can bookmark this page and watch the teams across the three leagues draw closer to their respective championships. It should help unify the three leagues and make it easier to breakdown the march for the Memorial Cup.
Who will join Red Deer? Initial thoughts?
Leave a comment below.
March 20, 2016 // 8:30 am mst
So after all the speculation, 7 of the 8 series in the 2016 WHL playoffs are confirmed and virtually nothing changed.
Out West we saw Portland stave off the Spokane Chiefs for the right to play the Silvertips in the opening round. Spokane will match up against the juggernaut Victoria Royals in their first round series. Of the four series in the West, I am probably most intrigued by Seattle and Prince George. The Cougars have the potential to cause the Thunderbirds all sorts of problems. They are big, mean, play on the edge, and could thrive in a playoff environment.
I’m also curious to see what happens in the Kelowna-Kamloops series. With Whistle and Merkely out, the Rockets aren’t the team we saw earlier in the season. Kamloops has a shot to really give them some trouble.
It was in the East that we saw results with more impactful consequences. The Warriors beat Swift Current 3 – 1 and Regina fell to the Wheaties by a score of 3 – 0. Those two outcomes pushed Moose Jaw back over Regina and set the stage for a Hurricanes-Pats and Warriors-Raiders first round.
The Hurricanes 4 – 2 loss to Medicine Hat, in conjunction with the Rebels 7 – 2 spanking of the Oil Kings, means we will see the Tigers and Oil Kings play a one game playoff for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The game will be played Tuesday night in Medicine Hat at 7:00 pm. Red Deer had nothing to play for against Edmonton and still the Oil Kings couldn’t do what they needed to do to eliminate the Tigers. Medicine Hat holds a perfect 6-0-0-0 record against Edmonton this year. Will it hold up when it really matters? I think it might… but won’t be surprised if it doesn’t either.
I hate to be a fence sitter, but I’m really conflicted with my projection for the one game playoff. What I do know is it promises to be very exciting.
There are two games on-tap today but neither are of any real significance. As I write this, the Hitmen are beating Kootenay 5-4 and the Thunderbirds and Winterhawks don’t drop the puck for another few hours.
Check back here in the coming day’s as we continue to update with thoughts, graphics, analysis, and stories from around the league.
The Calgary Sun – “Corral opens doors one final time as Hitmen host Rebels in WHL playoffs”
“Quick, someone get a broom and a couple of Swiffers.
These cobwebs gotta go.
There’s a WHL playoff game or two that need to be played … at the Corral.
With the Junos taking over the Saddledome for eight days beginning immediately after the Calgary Hitmen host the Red Deer Rebels in Game 3 on Sunday, March 27 (4 p.m.), Hitmen GM Mike Moore was forced to scramble.” – Scott Fisher
March 19, 2016 // 9:00 am mst
After all kinds of speculation, we finally have some clarity in the WHL playoff picture. With the Hurricanes victory over Medicine Hat, we know for certain that the Calgary Hitmen will play Red Deer in the first round. For a plethora of reasons, that will be the marquee match-up in the East. It’s going to be a grind. There will be at least one game played at the Corall and the first three games will be played over three nights. I can’t wait to watch this series unfold.
We also know that with the Chiefs winning, the Tri City Americans have officially been eliminated from post season contention. They gave it a great shot and even did their part with a win last night, but the hole was too deep. Despite their best efforts, the Ams just couldn’t recover from their poor start. Now the question needs to be asked… was it a massive mistake to hold on to players like Carlo (who I believe the Hurricanes were hot after)? Hindsight is 20/20 so I won’t judge their actions (or lack their of) too much, but I’m sure it was a disappointment.
With the Blazers victory over Prince George we can also confirm both the Kelowna – Kamloops series and the Seattle – Prince George series. Of the three confirmed match-ups, two have incredibly convenient travel circumstances… the other… well it’s a nightmare. They have committed to playing a traditional 2-2-1-1-1 series rather than a 2-3-2 so I hope the boys have some great movies picked out for the bus.
We also saw the Regina Pats overtake the Moose Jaw Warriors last night. The two teams swap dance partners tonight so it’s possible it will turn back around – but at least for now – the Hurricanes are slated to play their first round series against the Warriors. Personally, that’s the matchup I think would be best for the Canes. I may regret saying that in a week or two, but on paper, I think the Canes match up best against Moose Jaw.
We will know for certain tonight.
For me, the big game to watch remains in the East. It’s the combination of the Tigers and Oil Kings playing for the final Wild Card position. Will there be a little hang-over from the Canes? How will it effect the Tigers? The Oil Kings and Rebels start a half hour before the Canes and Tigers. Medicine Hat needs to win and Edmonton needs to lose in order to force a tie-breaking play-in game.
March 18, 2016 // 9:21 am mst
Ohhhhh baby things just got interesting. The lone game on last night’s WHL schedule had major implication in the Eastern Conference. Per the Edmonton Oil Kings website, “A crowd of 11,104 came to Rexall Place for the final regular season game of the Edmonton Oil Kings Thursday night. They are now hoping it wasn’t the final game ever here for the Oil Kings as Edmonton fell to the Red Deer Rebels 4-1. Despite outshooting Red Deer 31-25 the Oil Kings had difficulties solving Rebels netminder Trevor Martin getting just the one goal by him.”
The door is wide open for Medicine Hat. The only thing standing in their way? The Lethbridge Hurricanes.
A Lethbridge team that only needs one point to clinch the Central Division I should add…
Last night’s game shapes both Friday and Saturday for the Hurricanes and Tigers. With both Red Deer and Edmonton idle tonight, much can happen. The Tigers, with a win, can be in sole possession of the final wild card spot. The Hurricanes only need a point to clinch the division. It’s theoretically possible for both teams to leave the rink happy tonight BUT, at best, the Tigers can only tie Edmonton. If the season ends with Edmonton and Medicine Hat tied, the two teams will be required to play a tie-breaking game.
There are a handful of other massive games happening tonight. Spokane plays Portland, Moose Jaw plays Brandon, and Regina plays Swift Current. The road to Regina over taking Moose Jaw couldn’t be paved any smoother. It’s possible that after tonight’s slate of games, the Hurricanes find themselves slated to open the playoffs against Moose Jaw.
If Tri City wins and Spokane loses, it leaves the door open for the Americans to sneak into the playoffs (or at least a tie-breaking playoff game) on Saturday.
This is the sort of hockey we grind through five months for! Enjoy it!
We’ll be here tomorrow morning to break it all down and adjust the bracket as necessary.
March 17, 2016 // 9:00 am mst
Just when it looked like we might see some separation in the East, the Regina Pats rose to occasion and made a comeback in their game against Saskatoon. The line of Jake Leschyshyn, Rykr Cole and Adam Berg scored on consecutive third period shifts to power a 5-3 win over the Blades. Win was huge for the Pats as the Warriors cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Raiders. With both teams getting two points and nothing else happening, there was no movement in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Things weren’t much different out West. There’s more separation between the teams in the BC and US divisions and since Tri-City didn’t play, the only possible changes were involving the Spokane Chiefs. With the Chiefs beating Everett in OT, it moves them into a tie with Portland for 3rd in the US. Portland does have a game in hand but it’s something to watch closely over the next three days. It would be huge for Spokane to avoid a match-up with the Royals in the 1st round but Portland controls their destiny.
Speaking of the Royals – with last night’s victory over Kelowna – they sealed the deal as the WHL’s regular season points champions. Congrats to Victoria and their fans. What a great season for a team that wasn’t expected to do much more than be competitive.
On the docket tonight is a huge game between Edmonton and Red Deer. Both team’s only have two games remaining and both are jockeying for position. With a win, Red Deer can pressure Lethbridge for the Central division lead but with anything less and the Hurricanes will have clinched it. Buckle in Canes fans. By late tonight the Canes could be the regular season Central Division champions.
For the Oil Kings, they need to win both their final games to guarantee they make the playoffs. That’s because the Tigers hold the second tie-breaker (record vs. one another) but currently trail Edmonton by two points. The EOK hold their own destiny, but a regulation loss would mean they would become the biggest Lethbridge Hurricane fans alive tomorrow night. If Edmonton loses tonight, the Hurricanes will face a Tigers team that is a win away from overtaking Edmonton.
Medicine Hat News – “Ready for a Wild Finish”
“Kootenay Ice goaltender Wyatt Hoflin’s 51-save shutout of the Edmonton Oil Kings Tuesday set the stage for a wild finish to the WHL season for the Medicine Hat Tigers.
The Tigers sit two points behind the Oil Kings for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with just two games left on the docket. While a 13-year playoff streak is in jeopardy, head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston insiststhere isn’t much to be upset about after being outside the picture since October.
“For the whole season we’ve been on the outside and looking in, and quite a ways away, so the fact we still have an opportunity to get into the playoffs with two games remaining, to me, it’s a great situation,” said Clouston. “The guys have been unbelievable fighting through some real adverse times and we’ve played our best hockey down the stretch, which is always positive.”” – Ryan Mccracken
March 16, 2016 // 12:00 pm mst
Any thoughts on these match-ups? Things you like/don’t like? Can this bracket be improved? Notice any mistakes? Please drop a comment if you have something to say!
From a Lethbridge perspective the match-up with Regina is both intriguing and terrifying. Was chatting with someone in the Pats organization by email and few weeks ago and we were laughing about what this 1st round match-up would be like if it were to happen (that was in the wake of the 9-8 SO win for Regina). We will know after tonight’ if Moose Jaw is in big trouble of falling back to the wild card or not. Both the Pats and Warriors are in action.
Stay tuned and check back tomorrow for an updated bracket.
*Let me also get it out of the way and admit to borrowing from the 2016 NCAA March Madness logo for the Live Blog Cover. All credit for the layout belongs to the original designer. We’ve adapted it for our uses.*
Sportsnet – WHL Blog: “Playoff Seeding Down to the Wire”
“Timing is everything in hockey and with the WHL playoffs only a couple weeks away there are three teams that have hit their stride at the right time of the season.
In the Eastern Conference, the Brandon Wheat Kings have only been beaten twice—both in overtime—their past 10 games. That has clinched the East Division for them and they are one point away from securing their second straight top seed in the conference.
Not only are they winning games, but they’re piling up goals. They’re the top scoring club in the WHL and averaging an astonishing 6.5 goals per game in those past 10 contests. That’s going to get you a lot of points and the Wheaties looked poised to make another run to the finals…” – Andrew Eide
If you haven’t yet, think about voting in our Central Division jersey ranking. We opened the polls a week ago and have had a few hundred submissions. We love jerseys, logos, and goaltender equipment here at Canes Domain. It’s something we’re passionate about and have put allot of time into curating. If you enjoy this sort of thing, you’re sure to enjoy the Central Division Jersey Ranking.
Vote Here –>> Jersey Vote