COVID is not done with the United States or Canada junior hockey. If you think this season will not see more shut downs for teams and leagues, clearly you believe unicorns will be serving poutine in the Stanley Cup next summer.
Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, California, Oregon, Washington State, Idaho, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Michigan are all on pace to experience having hockey seasons stopped in their tracks once again.
Mask mandates, hospitals filled to capacity, and a much higher transmission rate than last fall are the writings on the wall.
Yes, vaccinations are up. I know. Not enough to protect everyone according to health officials.
So some of the tell tale signs are already showing up. Signs like reduced capacity for attendance at games in those Provinces and States.
Mandatory mask wearing by players unless they are actually on the ice in Alberta. Yes. On the bench everyone must mask up. In Alberta officially there is no contact between players; indoor competitions are paused except where vaccine exemptions have been granted. And if you want a vaccination exemption, you have to have proof of vaccination with you at all times, or have a negative test.
Alberta also now has indoor capacity restrictions, only one third fire code capacity, and social distancing must be maintained. Not exactly easy at a hockey game, and a revenue killer for any ticketed events.
Reduced capacity for all indoor events in BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Some places now rumored to being allowed only 10 fans inside the building due to the number of staff and players within the building and the capacity allowed.
Cross province travel is being restricted in some cases. States eliminating indoor activities with fans in attendance. Indoor mask mandates.
It will happen once again. We are betting that most if not all of these States and Provinces will have their games stopped within the next sixty days.
As infection numbers continue to rise, and hospitals continue to declare states of emergency, governments will once again be forced to act.
The question is, will you be prepared? Will you be one of the ones that is unprepared for the stoppage that is pretty predictably coming? These shut downs will not discriminate from league to league either. Tier II, Tier III and Major Junior will all be effected.
Right or wrong does not matter at this point. What matters is being prepared, and if you’re not prepared, you may have less time than you think particularly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.