News From AJHL & SJHL – First Commissioner Comments On American Players

Bill Chow, Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League gave an in depth interview with Prince Albert Now. Its a really good read and gives a lot of insight into what is going on in the SJHL.

The SJHL has submitted its Return To Play Plan to the Province and is waiting for approval. Great information, and they hope to start in mid September. Again, great information, just as I have been saying here for months.

What is also important to note is that at the end of the interview Chow comments on American players and out of Province players coming to the SJHL.

Chow said for American players coming up they will need the border to open. Common sense right? Actually its the first public comment on the issue from a commissioner in the CJHL. Why has it taken three months for one commissioner to actually answer the question?

When asked about out of Province players Chow said they would follow the Health Authority protocols and players would self isolate if needed.

This pretty much tells you what the SJHL is expecting to happen if you understand “Commissioner Speak”. The polite term for sugar coating the news no one wants to deliver.

As expected, out of Province players will likely face a five day to two week self isolation period when arriving in Saskatchewan from another Province. This time period will likely depend on which Province the player is coming from.

As expected, the American player “issue” will be firmly blamed and planted at the feet of the border being closed. That border closure according to multiple sources is now expected to last until November and Possibly until January 2021. Or until testing, tracking, and quarantine protocols are in place at every Canadian border.

Also in the SJHL, the Yorkton Terriers have requested a bailout from the City of Yorkton in order to be able to move forward next season.

The financial assistance requested amounts to more than $43,000 Canadian dollars.

The request was made in writing and stated;

“We are making this request out of desperate need for assistance in unprecedented times. While the board of directors has every intention of operating a team in the 2020-2021 season (provided we are allowed to), our financial situation is perilous. I assure you the board of directors are and will continue to make all reasonable efforts to continue to operate the Yorkton Terriers next season and for many seasons to come.”

The AJHL will be releasing a potential schedule in the next two weeks or so. This schedule is flexible though and could be adjusted for additional delays due o the virus. Of note though, the AJHL will not start the season with its annual showcase in September, it will be moved to the middle of the season.

Its important to note that showcase being moved. It has nearly everything to do with American NCAA scouts not being able to cross the border to scouts players in Canada until the borders are open. It also has to do with being able to get fans in the building. When does the AJHL expect that to happen? The middle of the season.

That is the update from Canada, still nothing from Ontario, and thats what everyone is waiting for.

Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser