Thursday 20 August 2020

Manitoba Junior Hockey League announces Return to Plans; pegs Oct.9th as Opening Night


The Manitoba Junior Hockey League took their next step forward in returning to the ice on Wednesday night as the league announced they'll open up the 2020/21 regular season on Friday, October 9th. 

Kevin Saurette, who took over as league commissioner in early July says those guidelines had to be approved by all those organizations. 

"We put our guidelines together, then submitted them to the Hockey Manitoba board of directors for their approval and support to move forward and once we received that we presented to Manitoba Public health officials and they came back to us this past Friday and then Hockey Manitoba put the final approval of our plans for us to go forward."

The news of Wednesday provided some positive and excited news across the MJHL as teams are set to officially begin their training camps on Sept. 18th. 

You know we're definitely excited to get back to what we all love and we can't wait to get that first game going,  just the the all the uncertainty was definitely waiting on a lot of people like the players and coaches and fans so now everyone is all talking about it today and it's great to see," said Swan Valley Stampeders Head Coach/GM Barry Wolff. 

Waywayseecappo Wolverines Head Coach/GM Taylor Harnett also expressed his excitement and kudos to all involved for putting it all together but admits they still lots of work for all involved to do. 

"We're all making a lot of preparations with our facilities and and trying to create the the safest environment that we can for our fans and our players in a short amount of time but for us we've been proactive we've been working on a lot of things in the past few months with the anticipation that we were going to be playing hockey again."

There are number of guidelines from practice to pregame to in-game action to postgame among other things listed in the 14 page document sent out by the MJHL that can be found here, including fans being in the stands in MJHL arenas at 35% percent capacity for preseason and 50% for regular season games, something Saurette is appreciative of.

"Obviously its important for our teams to have fans in the stands, but the guidelines set out are no different than what the public health orders are currently in place for recreation facilities so really at the end of the day it's going to be a decision for the organization and facility and the local authorities on what their comfort level is."

Saurette also adds that if fans do come out to watch MJHL hockey this season you are expected to follow physical distancing protocol, be restricted of access around the arena and it's also highly recommended to wear a mask when in the facilities, as you enjoy some exciting Junior hockey again.

Audio with MJHL Commissioner Kevin Saurette below: 

Saurette on the process of putting together the Return to Play Plan guidelines

Saurette on the cooperation of the 11 MJHL Clubs

Saurette on if changes to game play on ice

 Saurette on importance having some fans in the building

Saurette on what fans can expect when they go to a game this fall/winter

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