I woke up yesterday morning to a text message from a friend in Canada asking me if someone from Hockey Canada pissed me off. He meant it as a joke of course, and I took it this way. Yet it did make me look at the question honestly.
In todays unprecedented situation of COVID-19, internet, news, and over reaching government regulations around the world, the only problem is no one is really being transparent.
USA Hockey, Hockey Canada, the United States, Canada and the rest of the hockey world really already have a good idea of what the future of the game will look like in the short term. Yet, they all “hope” they don’t have to break the news because COVID-19 is so unpredictable, no one wants to “get it wrong”.
Meanwhile, players and parents sit. They sit and wonder and wait. Some are making decisions based on the information they have. Those people making decisions have some serious balls, and should be applauded.
Leadership in a time of crisis requires tough decision making. Right or wrong, a decision maker moves forward. I am not Trump supporter, but at least he has the balls to do something.
The changes are coming. In Canada you can probably expect full face shields to be mandatory across all Junior Hockey. In addition to that you can expect another layer of protection around the mouth and nose area.
In the United States, you can expect disruptions at various times during the coming season that coincide with outbreaks of COVID-19 from State to State.
You can expect equipment shortages because in the third world countries where most of the equipment is made the virus rages on. We know from experience that the virus takes root in factory settings and doesn’t let go until the factory closes for some time.
You can expect to see no fans at games, and at best 25% capacity of seating used in the near future.
You can expect that teams relying on ticket sales will not play unless they get a lot of government money to prop them up.
You can expect the price of hockey to rise more quickly.
You can expect quarantine measures on a regular basis until the virus goes away due to vaccine or other measures.
You can expect some leagues or teams that have not been on the pay to play level to move to a pay to play level to offset revenue lost from ticket sales lost.
You can expect a lot less scout travel this year. Social distancing in hotels, planes and arena’s will make it cost prohibitive for scouts to travel.
You can expect large scale showcase events with dozens of teams in one location to be scaled back or cancelled in many locations.
You can expect some teams to take advantage of fear during the recruiting process.
You can expect some teams to use pressure to sign tactics because other teams are folding and roster spots are filling quickly.
You can also expect that here at TJHN we will not play politics with the information you need to make good decisions on how to proceed this coming season.
There will be a season. There are plenty of good places to play with good operators. There are plenty of safe places to play.
Now more than ever its important to make good decisions on good information. Something I have been helping players with for decades.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser