What Is The Memorial Cup In Hockey?

Ice Hockey Memorial Cup

The Hockey Memorial Cup is the final championship tournament for the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). This annual tournament is held in a round-robin style where each team in the tournament gets the chance to compete against one another, as opposed to an elimination-style tournament.


The Canadian Hockey league is the top junior hockey league in the world, with a majority of Canadian-based teams and few American teams. The Hockey Memorial Cup was previously known as the OHA Memorial Cup since the trophy was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association. The CHL hosts its three member leagues for the Memorial Cup: the Western Hockey League (WHL), the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). They compete for the title and the grand trophy.

The tournament consists of four teams:

  • OHL Playoff Champions
  • QMJHL Playoff Champions
  • WHL Playoff Champions
  • Host Team

Tournament Format

The Memorial Cup tournament starts off with a round robin in which each team plays each other once for a total of three games per team. A win in the round robin is worth two points towards the standings and a loss is worth none. Once each team has played their three games, the top three teams are placed into further games based on standings. The fourth-placed team is eliminated. The first place team gets an automatic bye to the championship game. The second and third place teams play in a semifinal to determine who will face the first place team in the championship. The winner of the championship game wins the Memorial Cup.


What is the Memorial Cup in hockey?

The Memorial Cup in hockey is the highest recognized junior hockey league championship in the world. The Memorial Cup is the trophy that is awarded to the winning team across the three leagues that participate in the tournament. The tournament trophy was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association, honoring young soldiers who sacrificed their lives for Canada in the first World War.

What teams play in the Memorial Cup?

The three leagues that fall under the Major Junior umbrella are eligible for the Memorial Cup. These leagues are the Western Hockey League (WHL), the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). The playoff champions of these three leagues qualify for the Memorial Cup. The fourth team in the tournament is the host team. If a host team wins their league’s playoff championship, the runner-up from that league will fill in as the fourth team.

How does the Memorial Cup work?

The Memorial Cup is a tournament played in a round-robin format between the champions of each of the three Major Junior hockey leagues in Canada along with the host team. These four teams play each other once for a total of three games per team. Then, whoever has won the most games gets an automatic spot in the final. The second and third place teams play each other for a spot in the final. The winner of that game and the first place team play in a final game for the Memorial Cup championship.