The State Of Junior Hockey In the United States

As this story is published, I know I am going to get a lot of nasty emails and comments on social media. So be it. I am in the air and heading back to Europe where I know hockey will be played and people are safe.

Spending two weeks in the United States showed me just how differently this country has handled the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the rest of the world.

Whether you believe in the pandemic or think its a hoax, or some government plot, I think everyone can agree that it has completely ruined the possibility of anyone having a “normal” hockey season this year.

From a complete lack of social distancing, to arguments over mask wearing, to absolutely stupid riots and demonstrations over movements and other social problems, the United States has exhibited to the world a level of ignorance never seen before in modern history.

Because adults simply could not come together in the United States and decide upon a comprehensive COVID pandemic plan, and enforce that plan, children will now suffer.

Because adults couldn’t get it together those same adults will now complain that their children can not experience a “normal” life or hockey season this year.

Lets be clear, teams and leagues that rely on attendance and advertising wont be playing until they can sell tickets.

Teams located in States with quarantine protocols for people coming in from other high level infection States wont be playing road games in those States and teams from those States wont be playing in locations with quarantine protocols.

Big showcase events wont be happening until tickets can be sold and people can be inside of buildings. This doesn’t just effect junior hockey, it effects all hockey.

Teams wont be going to Canada for big showcase events, because Canada doesn’t want Americans in their country. And I don’t blame them.

Everyone is holding out hope that they will play in September or October. Keep holding out hope and you will be holding out for a long time if nothing changes.

Only a few States will allow teams to start at the end of September or early October. These are simply facts of the pandemic and the nations failure to control it.

Over the next three to four weeks, leagues will begin to announce more delayed starts. Teams will take a leave of absence, some will fold. And players will be disappointed.

Teams and leagues are holding out and waiting for their home State to tell them they can not play instead of having the balls to just make a decision and announce it publicly. Its the only way they can justify having tryout camps now and taking money.

It’s a shame that league and team leadership now reflects our political leadership on State and National levels. No one looks to have the strength to simply do the right things and openly communicate and plan with everyone’s best interest in mind. Regardless of political affiliation.

While Americans are sitting home, or some begin play, or others get infected, Canada and Europe will begin play. They will have relatively “normal” seasons, and the United States will not.

Is wearing a mask and social distancing for a few weeks really that hard? Do your adult “rights” take precedence over your child’s “right” or want to have a “normal” life? Are your “rights” more important than your neighbors “rights”?

It’s been more than four months since the pandemic began. There is no end in sight, and people think things will be normal or fine?

Is a player going to have to die before people in the United States get it together? Will a death even make a difference?

If an adult following the rules, or making a sacrifice to his or her personal “rights” is too much to ask to allow children to return to normal, what kind of example are we giving them?

Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser