The Province of Manitoba has seen pretty low numbers of COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began. The relatively rural Province has been lucky in that sense.
With the pandemic “under control” in Manitoba, the MJHL has made the completely shocking decision to grant an expansion franchise that will begin play this 2020-2021 season.
The Manitoba Junior Hockey League announced Friday they’ve granted an expansion franchise for Winnipeg to 50 Below Sports & Entertainment.
50 Below already owns the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues and the Western Hockey League’s Winnipeg Ice. The new team will begin play this season.
The new team will be called the Winnipeg Freeze.
While other teams in other provinces are struggling with player recruiting and retention, the Freeze are in a much different position.
Owning a WHL franchise and having the scouting department that comes with that organization will provide access to plenty of players to compete in year one. Having another team in the MJHL provides a familiarity with the league and its operations that should allow for a smooth start up.
It is rather unnerving though that in a time of pandemic, an new team would launch with so much uncertainty surrounding hockey in Canada in general.
As at least three more teams in Canadian Tier II leagues will be forced to go dark in the next few weeks, Canada looks to replace those losses in advance.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser