Calgary, Alta. – Western Hockey League Commissioner Ron Robison officially launched the 2022-23 WHL Regular Season on Friday. The WHL enters its 57th season as all 22 WHL member Clubs across Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest open their quest to become WHL Champions.
“The WHL is thrilled to welcome our great fans back for the 2022-23 WHL Regular Season,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “As one of the world’s top producers of NHL talent, this season will truly be the WHL’s time to shine, with a tremendously talented group of 2005-born players set to take the stage and entertain fans on their journey to the 2023 NHL Draft. The WHL and our member Clubs take pride in providing a safe and positive environment for our players, while also delivering the highest level of competition in the system and the most comprehensive education and scholarship program.
“We look forward to seeing you and feeling your energy back in our world-class facilities throughout the 2022-23 WHL Regular Season.”
WHL Continues to Serve as Leading Supplier of Talent for the NHL
The 2022 NHL Draft saw another eight WHL players taken in the top-40, led by Seattle Thunderbirds defenceman Kevin Korchinski (seventh overall, Chicago Blackhawks).
The WHL is poised to be a leader in the 2023 NHL Draft, led by Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats, Brayden Yager of the Moose Jaw Warriors, Zach Benson of the Winnipeg ICE, Andrew Cristall of the Kelowna Rockets, and Riley Heidt of the Prince George Cougars, among many others.
Return of Inter-Conference Play to the 68-Game WHL Regular Season
After two seasons without inter-conference play, WHL fans can look forward to seeing out-of-conference competition during the 2022-23 WHL Regular Season.
The campaign will see the WHL’s five U.S. Division Clubs make the trek from the Western Conference over to the WHL’s East Division, while the WHL’s East Division Clubs will head west to visit the WHL’s B.C. Division.
The WHL’s five B.C. Division Clubs are scheduled to visit the WHL’s Central Division, while fans in the U.S. Division can look forward to seeing the WHL’s Central Division Clubs head south of the border.
Inter-Conference Games of Note:
- Friday, October 21 – Winnipeg ICE at Kamloops Blazers
- Two of the highest-powered Clubs in the WHL will face-off as the Blazers welcome the ICE to Kamloops.
- Friday, November 25 – Regina Pats at Vancouver Giants
- North Vancouver product Connor Bedard makes his first appearance in his hometown, as the Giants play host to the Regina Pats.
- Tuesday, December 13 – Spokane Chiefs at Moose Jaw Warriors
- Top prospects Brayden Yager (Moose Jaw Warriors) and Saige Weinstein (Spokane Chiefs) go head-to-head for the first time in the WHL.
- Saturday, January 14 – Seattle Thunderbirds at Saskatoon Blades
- Longtime fan favourite Kyle Crnkovic returns to Saskatoon for the first time following a blockbuster trade to Seattle this summer.
- Tuesday, February 7 – Red Deer Rebels at Portland Winterhawks
- Two perennial WHL powers meet as Rebels head coach Steve Konowalchuk returns to the city where he spent his WHL playing days.
2023 WHL Playoffs
The 2023 WHL Playoffs are scheduled to begin Friday, March 31.
The Conference Playoff format returns for 2023, with the WHL Board of Governors approving the format for the next three seasons. The 2022 WHL Playoffs marked the first year of Conference Playoff competition since the 2014 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 third to eighth playoff positions.
Clubs advancing to the second round and Conference Championships will be re-seeded each round based on Regular Season points. The two Conference Champions will advance to the WHL Championship Series, with the Club possessing the most Regular Season points receiving home-ice advantage.
All series throughout the 2023 WHL Playoffs will follow a best-of-seven format.
The 2023 WHL Championship Series is scheduled to be played from Friday, May 12 to Monday, May 22 with the WHL Champion advancing to the 2023 Memorial Cup presented by Kia in Kamloops, B.C. from Friday, May 26 to Sunday, June 4.
CHL National Events Coming to the WHL in 2023
The WHL will play host to the two premiere national events in Canadian Major Junior hockey during the 2022-23 season, including the 2023 Kubota CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver (January 25) and the 2023 Memorial Cup presented by Kia in Kamloops (May 2023).
Top Prospects Featured During First Half of CHL TV Game of the Week Schedule
Five WHL games featuring top prospects for the 2023 NHL Draft will enjoy the CHL TV Game of the Week spotlight from September through December.
On Saturday, September 24, Brayden Yager and the Moose Jaw Warriors will host Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats to open the slate. Tuesday, October 11 will see Andrew Cristall and the Kelowna Rockets head to Vancouver Island for a tilt with the Victoria Royals.
During the month of November, high-profile defencemen take centre stage as Lukas Dragicevic and the Tri-City Americans visit the Prince Albert Raiders (November 1) and Saige Weinstein and the Spokane Chiefs welcome the Vancouver Giants (November 23).
The first half of the CHL TV Game of the Week schedule wraps up on Wednesday, December 14 as the defending Ed Chynoweth Cup champion Edmonton Oil Kings visit the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Fans can watch the CHL TV Game of the Week on WHL Live on CHL TV by registering for a free CHL TV user account at watch.chl.ca.
WHL Live on CHL TV Has a New Home for 2022-23
New for the 2022-23 WHL Regular Season, fans can find WHL Live on CHL TV within the CHL App, in addition to new OTT applications for Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku.
Get all the WHL and CHL content you can handle right alongside livestreaming games with the CHL App.
For the low price of $119.99 (plus taxes and fees), you can subscribe to WHL Live All-Access at watch.chl.ca.
WHL Scholarship Continues to Deliver Success
The 2022-23 WHL season marks the 29th anniversary of the WHL Scholarship. With nearly 7,400 WHL Scholarships having been accessed by WHL graduate players since 1993, WHL Clubs have made an investment of nearly $33 million over the history of the WHL Scholarship program.
Every player who plays in the WHL is eligible to receive the WHL Scholarship. For every season a player plays in the WHL, they receive a guaranteed, full-year WHL Scholarship, including tuition, textbooks and compulsory fees to a post-secondary institution of their choice. WHL players can also access financial assistance for post-secondary courses while playing in the League prior to accessing their WHL Scholarship. The WHL and Athabasca University have partnered to offer, through online and other distance education vehicles, fully-accredited university courses to any WHL player or WHL Graduate interested in further pursuing post-secondary studies while playing in the WHL or after they graduate from the League.
Over 70 percent of Canada West men’s hockey rosters are comprised of WHL graduates. Recent WHL graduates who have played Canada West hockey and gone on to sign NHL entry-level contracts include Derek Ryan (Edmonton Oilers), Zach Sawchenko (Carolina Hurricanes), Luke Philp (Chicago Blackhawks), and Noah Philp (Edmonton Oilers).
WHL Enhances Respect in Hockey and Security Network Programs
On September 1, the WHL hosted the 2022 WHL Leadership Conference, unveiling a number of enhancements to WHL Respect in Hockey and Security Network programs.
The WHL Player Advisory Council will offer WHL players and staff with access to an independent complaint The Player Advisory Council will review all complaints receive through an independent channel before determining next steps. READ MORE
What We Stand For: The WHL Player Experience
The WHL is fully committed to providing our players with a world-class hockey experience. We believe our WHL Member Clubs offer our players the highest quality of hockey experience available in the world today and this can be best described by our three key cornerstones: Development, Education and the Environment.
The WHL provides the highest level of competition for junior age players in North America. The quality of our coaching, facilities and professional support services offers the ideal setting for players to develop their skills and advance to the next level in the game.
The WHL offers the most comprehensive education program in North America. WHL Clubs are governed by League-wide education standards to ensure players not only achieve their high school academic goals, but also qualify for post-secondary studies. While playing in the WHL, players receive financial assistance for post-secondary course. The WHL also offers a full guaranteed scholarship to all our players, which can be applied to any post-secondary institution of choice.
The WHL is committed to offering the best possible experience we can for our players, including a mandatory series of national health and wellness programs, such as the Respect in Hockey program, CHL Drug Education and Anti-Doping program and Canadian Mental Health initiatives, among others. When combined with our WHL Seven Point Plan player safety initiative, these programs provide our players with a safe and healthy environment in which to develop.
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 375 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.