Yesterday the United States and Canada officially extended the joint border closure agreement through July 21, 2020. Multiple sources in Canada are also reporting that it is expected to be extended on a monthly basis until testing, tracing and other measures are in place on both sides of the border.
Meanwhile, in the United States, some states are allowing for controlled arena openings, and tryouts are starting to take place.
Speaking to owners in the United States in multiple leagues, they are concerned about the lack of time to prepare a team to compete next season, but not concerned about moving forward on time for a traditional start to the season.
Multiple owners have created backup plans to relocate teams temporarily in the event of one State or another experiencing a shut down at some point.
The group of owners most concerned in the United states and Canada are those relying on ticket sales revenue. Multiple owners are now saying they simply can not move forward next season on 25% capacity in arenas for the full season. If they can not get to the 50% threshold they will not play.
In Canada, multiple teams now are looking at the impact of simply taking the year off.
Without American born players paying to play, and tryout camp money coming in, they simply can not afford to operate. Couple this with no real timeline for a return to play, several owners are now thinking they will not have as many losses financially if they simply take a year off.
The question many parents have been asking is how will the border closure effect the American teams that play in Canadian leagues?
The WHL and OHL players will be able to travel across the border without issue under the P-1 professional Visa they are issued. However, American born players on American teams are not issued Visa’s and the question of how they can cross the border has yet to be answered.
For Junior A and Junior B teams, there simply is no way to cross until the border closure is ended. This effects the BCHL, KIJHL, SIJHL, NOJHL, and OJHL.
Meanwhile, feeling the pressure, the Prairie Junior Hockey League in Saskatchewan has had one team go dark for the season. Citing the unknowns, the Southern Rebels have made the decision to take the year off.
Multiple sources throughout Canada are reporting that multiple teams in multiple leagues may now make the same decision as tryouts will be cancelled through July.
If you haven’t made your backup plan, isn’t it time you did?
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser