COVID-19 restrictions prompt more delays for Sask. hockey teams, leagues
REGINA -- It will be at least a month before meaningful hockey games resume in Saskatchewan, after the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the Saskatchewan Hockey Association announced changes to their schedules.
The WHL announced on Monday that the regular season start date has been postponed indefinitely.
“Any amount of games is good for the development of players. That’s why everyone’s fighting so hard for this,” John Paddock, the general manager of the Regina Pats said.
This is the fourth time the WHL has postponed its start date.
“For us it’s always disappointing, but I wouldn’t say it’s surprising,” Paddock noted.
The WHL will meet in January to consider potential start dates. However some teams, like the Swift Current Broncos, are dealing with other concerns.
“Being the smallest franchise in the CHL, it’s always been difficult to make things go in a normal season, let alone having a pandemic thrown in,” Dean Brockman, the Broncos head coach and general manager said.
Brockman said the organization has prepared for delays all season. Despite the current bleak outlook with an indefinite start date, they’re trying to stay positive.
“We’re going to endure some hard things but every other franchise is going to as well,” Brockman said. “We’ll do what we can do and we’ll look forward to playing hockey in the fall if we can’t this spring.”
SASKATCHEWAN HOCKEY ASSOCIATION
On Tuesday, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association announced provincial playoffs and carded team programs have been cancelled.
Provincial playoffs usually start on Jan. 20, but due to sports restrictions being extended until Jan. 15, Sask Hockey hopes that mini-leagues can resume in early February.
“We want to salvage the season by at least trying to finish out some league play for kids that they can have hopefully around a 20 game season and look at it that we’ve been able to do something,” said Kelly McClintock, Sask Hockey’s General Manager.