Across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force teams to cancel games. This is not just a Canadian and American problem.
England, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Sweden and others are having the same issues. In every case, without exception, teams are getting infected through contact with the general public first, and then with team mates.
This is every case. Whether it be billet family members at the junior level, or neighbors at the pro level, the week link is contact with the public. The public who are not wearing masks, not social distancing in public places, and not practicing the use of hand sanitation.
Whether you are a mask wearer, or an anti mask person, the issue and results simply can’t be denied. Players are getting infected. Thankfully all of them are recovering and we don’t have any instances of serious illness yet. Yet, being the key word.
The QMJHL announced Sunday that it will move to a ten day “bubble” program for the Gatineau Olympiques, Drummondville Voltigeurs, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Victoriaville Tigers, Shawinigan Cataractes, Chicoutimi Saguenéens, and the Quebec Remparts.
This “bubble” concept, will almost assuredly eliminate infections and potential for cross player infections. This bubble concept is expensive, but it is the only way to move forward safely.
While the QMJHL is moving forward with a bubble, most leagues will not consider this concept. Most leagues are still relying on traditional billet family programming and unfortunately that simply isnt going to work.
While many have complained in the past about the “hockey house” programs some teams have used, this may be the best way to protect players at this point. On line school combined with a hockey house “bubble” would cut down risks further.
At this point we are not arguing the major health implications of infection. I believe and most other believes that players who do get infected, will recover without issue in almost every case.
That said, there are always exceptions to the rule, and its only a matter of time before a young player has serious complications. Every plan, is designed to mitigate the opportunity for that to happen, not eliminate it.
As seasons move forward, so does the pandemic. It is only a matter of time before we all likely get COVID. The point of mitigation is simply to buy time so that when we do get it, treatments and therapies have evolved to a point where it wont become life threatening for most.
Stay safe out there.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser