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Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Manitoba Junior Hockey League provides update amid COVID-19 pandemic
Since the middle of March we have been focused on three key areas. The first area is accessing any and all Federal and Provincial financial assistance programs that have been made available to small businesses. Each member team, as well as the league office have applied for the various programs we qualify for and some have accessed these funds already which is re-assuring. At the league office we have been busy creating scenario plans for the start of the 2020 – 2021 season. These scenario plans have been extensive and range from the development of a normal 60 game schedule starting in September down to a 30 game schedule starting in December and several options in between.
Let me emphasize that I am highly optimistic and confident that we will start the upcoming season this fall. To accomplish that and begin the new season in the fall will mean that the hockey environment will have to change. Our third major area of focus has been the development of Return to Play Protocols. These protocols will describe the league’s plan for its teams that will allow them to offer Junior A hockey games in their team arenas. The protocols will be extensive and will range from how fans enter and exit the building and all interactions once they are within the facility to how the two competing teams will prepare for and compete on the ice and everything in between. Needless to say, the MJHL has never made plans or protocols as thorough as this before, but it is something we are beginning to work on at this time. The MJHL has been informed by the Provincial Public Health Office that the Return to Play Protocols we design must be approved by the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer before league play can resume. The COVID 19 pandemic and our desire for the health and safety of all persons means we must do our part so that we can enjoy hockey once again.
As I mentioned, this is a brief update to let you know the MJHL is doing well and working diligently to get the league and its teams back into a new normal operating environment.
I want to conclude my comments with a personal note. A you may know, I will be leaving the MJHL as its Commissioner at the end of June after 18 fantastic seasons. I want to say how grateful I am for the opportunity the Board of Governors of the league has provided me during my long tenure. My work as Commissioner has been challenging, fun and rewarding. It has also been difficult and frustrating. My lasting reflection on my time as MJHL Commissioner is how fortunate I am to have had the chance to work in the hockey business and with such passionate and caring people. I’m very lucky.