Information. It is out there and it is available to everyone. All you have to do is look and you will get a quick education on what the hockey landscape looks like with COVID and the Canadian Junior leagues.
The OHL schedule tells us a lot. Saginaw, Flint and Erie do not have a single Canadian based franchise scheduled to come to the United States until mid November. Clearly they do not anticipate the American border being open for a while yet.
The BCHL schedule only has the Wenatchee Wild playing two games so far.
The SIJHL has scheduled games for its two American teams so that there are no Canadian teams visiting the United States until mid October.
The NOJHL has the Soo Eagles scheduled with Canadian teams in the United States in September, but Eagles owner Ron Lavin has told me that there is a plan in place for the Eagles to play home games in Sault Ontario.
The WHL schedule doesn’t have Canadian teams visiting the United States until the end of October. Those games are also limited and could easily be pushed back later in the schedule to accommodate the border issues.
The United States side of the border is closed until September 21, and it is expected that it will remain closed until after the “fourth wave” of COVID has ended. Most experts are predicting January for a reopening of the American side of the border.
With the latest reports from Canada though, and new mask mandates being put in place along with vaccination passports, some provinces appear to be headed to returning to restrictions.
This report is one of the best I have found at describing the situation in Canada. How bad is Canada’s 4th COVID-19 wave getting? Here’s a look at the data – National | Globalnews.ca
After reading this report, and doing more research on schedules, all is not certain in Canada.
All is not certain in the United States either.
Multiple states are returning to indoor mask orders, and some are talking about introducing restrictions again if there are more “spikes”.
While leagues in Canada a mandating vaccinations, none in the United States have so far. Teams have made policy based on their own standards regarding vaccinations. Some require them some do not.
Unbalanced scheduling is one solution that could be used as long as no other restrictions are put in place. That could work for the OHL but would get a little boring for home fans only seeing a few teams this year.
The WHL could have the American teams play only against themselves and get in a full season if needed. As long as States do not return to restrictions. Oregon just started issuing restrictions and this could effect the Winterhawks quickly.
The SIJHL has yet to announce an alternative plan for their two teams based in the United States.
As we get ready to turn the page to September, with pre season and regular season games starting as soon as this weekend, all is not sure on the junior hockey front concerning Canadian leagues.
Now, having accurate information, and this is as accurate as it gets, how will you use it to ensure you have a complete season in this COVID environment that looks like it wont be ending any time soon?
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser