The QMJHL one of the three Major Junior leagues in Canada has announced that they are “targeting” an October 1, 2020 starting date.
The announcement was made with conditions though.
The announcement was explicit in stating that this is the “target” date, and that the QMJHL is still “working on a plan to return to play”. The most important part of the announcement clearly states that any return to play plan would have to be approved by local Health Officials.
The Moncton Wildcats provide more information below:
Moncton clearly is taking a conservative approach to the start of the 2020 season. Of note it is clear that Social Distancing measures will almost absolutely be a part of the plan moving forward.
The Wildcats in my opinion do not sound confident in how they will be able to sell tickets, and in turn advertising for the 2020 season.
The president of the Halifax Mooseheads stressed this is just a targeted date that could be pushed back and there will be a number of logistics to figure out as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.
“It does give us a date that we can circle on the calendar and it’s something to work towards, but there’s still a lot of work to do yet,” said Brian Urquhart.
“We’re not like the NHL unfortunately. All our teams, our main source of revenue is through ticket sales and sponsorship, and both of those go hand-in-hand,” he explained. “So, playing in an empty building certainly is not an option for us.”
This lack of confidence was relayed to me by several other sources. While everyone appreciated the QMJHL putting something out in the public, few people believe there is a real plan in place to move forward yet. One source commented that he felt the QMJHL made a statement simply give the fans “something”.
Its also noteworthy that the OHL and WHL did not make any announcement. Traditionally an announcement like this would be something that would come through the CHL offices. Similar to the CHL office announcing the end of the season due to the pandemic.
While the announcement is nice for the league, it is certainly no sure thing that everything is “full go” on October 1, 2020.
Stay tuned for more news from Canada as it comes in.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser