Hockey Canada made it official and public late Thursday when announcing their policy on returning to play.
The Hockey Canada statement made it clear that it is unlikely that Junior leagues will all begin play at the same time. As I stated here on TJHN just the other day. This taken from the Hockey Canada release;
“Currently there are no Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities being conducted, and we are working with our Members on their return-to-hockey plans. After ongoing discussions with the board of directors, our chief medical officer, the 13 Members and public health authorities across the country, it has been determined that the best approach for a return to hockey in Canada is to allow each Member the opportunity to work with authorities in their respective regions to determine when it is safe to return to the ice in areas that fall under their jurisdiction. We expect the timing of each Member’s return to hockey will be different, but will be based on the advice of their government and public health authority.”
Pushing the point home, the Hockey Canada release focused more on the fact that different regions will open at different times than anything else. Stating further;
“It is imperative to note that we are not ready to return to the game across the country. As we have seen in respect to flattening the curve, the impact of the pandemic varies from region to region.”
“Hockey Canada knows the game will look quite different, and the return will happen at different speeds and at different times across the country.”
It is not only probable, but likely that the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec start their seasons later than the rest of the country. These have been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus. British Columbia may also be in this group.
Canada in some Provinces are entering “Stage 2” of reopening their country. Returning to sports is not included in Stage 2. Returning to sports is not included until Stage 3, and in Stage 3, it is a return to sport in a much more limited way than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bill Chow, President of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League said;
“different area’s of the country are in different stages of the virus. As a result I think you’re going to see a lot of different start dates when each of the ten leagues are going to start up.”
Chow also said that the SJHL schedule has been put on the back burner for the next month or so in order to get a clearer picture on when they can start.
More to come on Canada next week.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser