Tuesday night we had a fun discussion spurred on by this tweet from a listener.
rckaplan robGuy and I chatted about the question and both agreed that while the USHL is a very good league it is not equal to the CHL. The USHL is more comparable to the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) which includes Tier 1 junior leagues from B.C. to the Maritimes.
"@ThePipelineShow How bout let the ushl play for the memorial cup?"
I was surprised to hear so many people disagree with us through Twitter, but enjoyed their reasoning. So we wondered about other league vs league games we might want to see or that are fair match ups.
Memorial Cup Champion Vs. NCAA Frozen Four Champion
The Memorial Cup is one of the hardest trophy's to win because you have to win 4 rounds in your own league, then defeat at least 2 teams (also champions) from different leagues to win. It's a major grind. The Frozen Four however doesn't give out a host bid, so you know that every team in the tournament has won their way in..and it's win or go home as opposed to Round Robin format so every game is must win.
I think the game would be fairly even, but Guy is of the belief that the older College team would wear down the younger CHL club. He makes a very good point. Comparing this year's winners, I think that Saint John would be considered a more skilled team than Minnesota-Duluth but the Bulldogs did have more experience with a talented and older team.
Royal Bank Cup Champion Vs. Clark Cup Champion
This would pit the top Junior A (CJHL) team in Canada vs the USHL title winners. The RBC is similar to the Memorial Cup in that you must win your league, but then beat another league just to get into the tournament. It is a 6-team tournament so there is more margin for error. While the USHL playoffs aren't as long, I think the Clark Cup champs would likely win in the match up. The USHL has rapidly improved to where their all star team has beaten 2 of Canada's in 3 straight World Junior A Challenge tournaments.
The hypothetical 2011 match up would throw the Pembroke Lumber Kings against the Dubuque Fighting Saints.
CHL All Star team vs. NCAA All star team
Now this is a game I'd love to see, mid season. It's kind of like that already with the World Junior Championship, but this game/series would allow both leagues to use their full fire power meaning 20-year-olds in the CHL and even 23 to 24-year-olds from South of the 49th.
No matter who wins, this it would be entertaining. Once again the NCAA would have the experience and likely the size advantage, but they wouldn't be pushing around 16 and 17 year olds. The CHL would be able to use the best of it 's overagers, something Canada can't do in the WJC, and I think those players put the CHL over the edge.
I would also like to see a match up of CIS champs or an all-star team vs a similar club from the NCAA.
So who do you think would win these match ups? Would you like to see them? If you answered yes, I'm sorry to disappoint you as they will NEVER happen. None of the leagues want to give the others any kind of bragging rights. NCAA teams rarely travel to Canada to play CIS teams. However this year UND and Clarkson will play a non conference game in Winnipeg, so maybe there is hope to see a CIS team like Alberta host Denver instead of it usually being the other way around.
Are there any other match ups YOU would like to see?