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Coronavirus: Loyalist Jets show ‘maturity beyond their years’ after playoffs cancelled

Minor hockey team from Amherstview respects Hockey Canada’s decision
The Loyalist Jets from Amherstview are disappointed but accept the decision to cancel games to stop the spread of COVID-19.

At first it was deemed a suspension, but then Hockey Canada decided to cancel all minor league playoff games for the rest of the season.

It was a crushing blow to several clubs in the Kingston area still competing for a provincial championship title.

The Loyalist Township Jets were supposed to play the South Huron Sabres from Exeter for the Ontario Minor Hockey Association midget double-C crown.

“I admit to crying when I first heard the news,” said Jets captain Liam Dawson.

READ MORE: Loyalist Jets look forward to playing Exeter for the OMHA midget championship

With this being his last season of minor hockey, Dawson was looking forward to competing for an OMHA championship.

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“I was angry at first but understand why they did what they did,” added Dawson.

“They don’t want the virus to spread and I totally understand that, but it’s still really tough the way we had to go out.”

Both games scheduled for last weekend at the W.J. Henderson Arena in Amherstview were expected to be sellouts with close to 1,000 fans in attendance.

“I understand why they cancelled the games but it’s still tough to handle,” said Jets forward Alex Pym-Robichaud.

He, too, was playing in his final minor hockey season after nine years with the same team.

“I’m coming to grips with it,” Pym-Robichaud said.

“They don’t want this virus to spread in Canada so we have to accept it. They have to take every precaution to keep everyone safe. I was angry and sad at first but deep down I know they’re doing the right thing.”

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Coronavirus around the world: March 17, 2020
Coronavirus around the world: March 17, 2020

For many players on the team, including Aidan Proderick, it was to be their minor hockey swan song.

“It’s a tough way to go out,” the defenceman said. “I’m too young to remember SARS but this is just as bad.

“This virus is such a big issue and we have to accept and respect the decision made by Hockey Canada.”

READ MORE: Hockey Canada is dropping ‘midget,’ other traditional minor age group names

Paul Proderick is the president of the Loyalist Township Minor Hockey Association. He was proud of the way the boys handled a tough situation.

“I wanted them to have a positive ending to their minor hockey careers,” said Proderick, who also served as the team’s assistant coach.

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“The boys get it,” continued the longtime hockey official. “They all had strong emotions when they were first told of the cancellation, but they accepted the decision like men. They acted with class and maturity beyond their years.”