The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has been approved to start play, effective immediately.
SJHL teams will be allowed to admit up to 150 fans to be in attendance for exhibition play while attendance guidelines for the regular season games slated to begin the week of November 2nd is yet to be determined.
Fans will be required to wear face masks while in the arena.
Teams are scheduling exhibition games to be played between now and November 1st.
Exhibition schedule will be released as soon as possible.
Question and Answer with SJHL President Bill Chow:
1. How's it feel to finally get the Return to Play Approved?
"Well you know it's a relief in in some ways and a lot, now we know we can get going and get started and I think it's exciting for everybody but then of course comes along all the other protocols and things that we have to take care of and make sure that we're following and adhering to it to make sure that everybody stays safe. Fans, players, coaches, off ice officials and the officials on the ice as well so you know there's more challenges out there Benny but you know I think everybody is geared up and willing to do it then will come through."
2. What were all the steps you had to take to get the approval to play again?
"I mean first of all we had to submit our protocols which are basically the same protocols that hockey Canada has approved which they got from the western hockey league which the same protocols that we've used and then we fulfilled them and submitted them to the Sask government and then once they got passed through the government then they went on to health and we still have a few things that we have to deal with but we're at a point where the government felt that we could get going with the 150 people for the exhibition season and then once we get into the regular season which we are speculating that will start the first week of November we'll have to see what those numbers come out but definitely higher than 150. "
3. How did you get to the 150 people for attendance to Exhibition games to start?
That's the protocols that came out with Sask Health so that's whay they're allowing in the arenas and of course understanding social distancing and everything else that comes along with COVID-19 so that's where that number came from.
4. How important is it to have fans in the building for the SJHL teams?
"It's make or break for the teams and when you say the the number 50 percent too we have to be cautious when we say that because 50 percent is with social distancing and in all the cases I mean 50 percent capacity was social distancing is probably going to end up in that 25 to 30 percent of the capacity of the building for most arenas."
5. What's the regular season going to look like to start with?
"For the first part there's going to playing in 2 groups of 6 and then come January 8 that will get expanded and will be back to a normal schedule. "
6. How much many times will each team play each other and how many games total you looking to play?
"There's a few things we have to get to nail down before we get to that, obviously we just found out last night and everybody agreed that we would have couple weeks of exhibition season here work with the protocols make sure that everybody's comfortable in what they have to do so we will meet this week here coming up and we'll look at our schedule and take care of that work for everybody as best as possible and make sure it is balanced as possible and move forward from there.
7. If I'm a fan going to a SJHL game this season, what can I expect?
"Obviously there's going to be social distancing obviously you know you have to be wearing a mask while you're in the building and when you're seated you can attend with your bubble or your household group and that'll be your bubble group if you want to call it that along with that you'll have to make sure that you're socially distanced from from the next group or next person and there will be no standing around mingling and visiting with buddies that you haven't seen for a while there's gonna be have to be constant flow and there is gonna be markers and arrows on each of the different arena's concourses so there's going to be a lot more for the volunteers and organizers of each team to make sure that we comply with the protocols that have been given to us and everybody's really trying to make sure that everybody just stay safe"
Audio with SJHL President Bill Chow:
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