A friend of mine a few months back said to me that every arena needs to turn off all hockey game video streaming services in their arena’s and just move forward with their seasons. I laughed when he said it.
He went further and said its video streaming that will catch teams breaking rules of having fans in the stands. What neither of us thought about was that it would catch teams practicing outside of where they were allowed to practice due to COVIF safety guidelines.
So up in Canada, each Province, and each league have its own return to play rules. These rules cover travel, games, practices, and just about every other item you can imagine. Some of these return to play plans are really quite detailed and show league administrators attention to safety is to be commended.
The Manitoba Junior Hockey League was told on November 2, that the three teams within the Winnipeg health zone, the Winnipeg Blues, Freeze, and Selkirk Stellers, could not travel to play any games or practices.
It was only a two week ban due to COVID protocols. Of course though, if you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.
LiveBarn, is a video streaming service that is always operating in the arenas they service. Games, practices and even dead ice can be watched around the clock. This is the key to teams getting caught.
Though on ice published schedules for practice times had team names changed on them, the video captured shows two MJHL teams practicing when they were not allowed to be on the ice.
The MJHL has said that teams who play outside of the “Hockey Manitoba” restrictions is not permitted and not sanctioned.
This is where it gets messy.
Hockey Canada has said that any players playing or participating in any “non sanctioned” games, practices or events, can not play in “sanctioned” events for a year. So, what happens now?
Doe’s the MJHL and Hockey Canada actually enforce the rules? Are all the players banned for a year? Are the teams sanctioned? Ownership sanctioned? What do you do when the league and the national governing body have made these rules, and now you may actually have to enforce them?
What do you do when the ownership of both teams is one company and they just happen to own a WHL team as well? Yeah, talk about pooping the bed.
Lets see how this is handled. Or not handled and swept under the rug?
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser