CHL pauses season in wake of coronavirus pandemic

The Memorial Cup being lifted by the CHL champions. (Dave Chidley/CP)

TORONTO — All three major junior hockey leagues in Canada and the American Hockey League have suspended play because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Canadian Hockey League announced Thursday that play has been halted in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League.

The 31-team AHL, the top minor league for the NHL, also has suspended play. The league includes four Canadian teams — the Toronto Marlies, the Manitoba Moose, the Laval Rocket and the Belleville Senators.

The CHL, the umbrella organization for the regional leagues, followed many pro leagues in suspending operations. The NBA, NHL, Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball announced schedule suspensions earlier Thursday.

The Memorial Cup, the national championship tournament for the CHL, is scheduled for May 22-31 in Kelowna, B.C.

The CHL features 60 combined teams in Canada and the U.S.

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