Memorial Cup/Twitter

Do the Regina Pats deserve to be in the 100th Memorial Cup???

Do the Chilliwack Chiefs deserve to be in the Royal Bank Cup???

Based on their league regular season and playoff performance, the answer is a resounding … NO.

The CHL Major Junior tournament is about to begin, while the Canadian Junior ‘A’ championship wraps up this weekend.

The Pats and Chiefs come from the same boat where they have been given a lifeline.

Both teams underachieved in the regular season and subsequently lost in the first round, but got the luxury of a back door berth to the nationals as the host team.

Chilliwack fell 3-1 to the Prince George Spruce Kings in Game Seven on March 11th, and then waited a couple of months before the Nationals.

The Chiefs did not look out of place in the five-team RBC round-robin with a second-place finish behind the Wenatchee Wild.

(Six of the 10 round-robin games were decided after regulation time)

Chilliwack will play in the semi-finals Saturday night against the Ottawa Jr. Senators, while the other semi on Saturday afternoon features Wenatchee against the Wellington Dukes.

Should the Chiefs win the RBC, does that mean they are the best team in Canada?

Certainly not to my way of thinking!

The Cobourg Cougars of Ontario won the 2017 Royal Bank Cup, and yes, they were the hosts after failing to win their league title.

Last year, the Windsor Spitfires captured the Memorial Cup and the so-called “bragging rights” as the country’s best, yet they lost in the first round of the playoffs, just like Regina this year.

The only reason it is necessary for having a host team is financial.

Fans and sponsors want a local team to identify with and cheer for.

In the 2017-18 season, there is no the comparison between the accomplishments of Regina and the WHL champion Swift Current Broncos.

After a third-place showing in the East Division, the Pats played just seven post-season games, losing out to the Broncos.

Swift Current played a WHL record 26 playoff games, beating four quality opponents to EARN their title and a spot as one of three CHL champions.

I know many hockey observers, especially of the younger generation, believe winning a national championship, no matter how easy a ride to get there, suggests that team can brag about being Canada’s best since they supposedly peaked at the right time.

To me, the Broncos season is much superior to that of the Pats, regardless of the Memorial Cup results.

The same goes for Wenatchee, who won the BCHL Fred Page Cup and Doyle Cup, which is much more impressive than anything Chilliwack can do, including winning the RBC.

The BCHL Chiefs and WHL Pats had ample time to heal injuries.

They haven’t had to endure the grind of traveling miles after miles on the bus, and only had to mentally gear up for a few games, not a few series.

This topic seems to come up each year at this time, and garners even more attention when the host team excels at the nationals after crumbling early in their league playoffs.

Regina has a good team and thought they got better when they acquired Jesse Gabrielle’s rights from the Prince George Cougars in January, however, Gabrielle won’t play in the Memorial Cup due to a foot injury that he suffered in the last regular season game.

Swift Current obviously has an excellent team, which includes defenceman Josh Anderson, who was acquired early in the new year from the Cougars for a pair of first-round Bantam draft picks.

Ordinarily, I have no preference if the Pats or Broncos win the Memorial Cup or if the Chiefs or Wild win the RBC, but this year I would much rather see success for Swift Current and Wenatchee on the national stage.

The best analogy I can think of is that Swift Current and Wenatchee are running a 26-mile marathon, while Regina and Chilliwack have entered the race on even terms at the 20 mile mark.

If the Pats and Chiefs win the last six miles of the race (after not having to go thru the first 20) does that make them a true winner?

Taking a shortcut to capturing a national title diminishes the accomplishment, but try to convince that logic to the host team, should they win.



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Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on
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Follow him on Twitter: @Hartley_Miller.