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SJHL season paused until 2021 due to COVID-19

Click to play video 'SJHL season paused until 2021 due to COVID-19' SJHL season paused until 2021 due to COVID-19
WATCH: Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League players have returned home for what will be an early and extended holiday break – Dec 5, 2020

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) had almost completed its first month of the regular season when the province shut them down amidst the battle against COVID-19.

“Depending what those requirements are will depend on when those players can come back and should come back,” SJHL commissioner Bill Chow said. “And then allowed to skate and practice and get into a game routine as well.”

Read more: Saskatchewan officials excited for World Junior Hockey Championship opportunity

The players have now all returned home for what will be an early, and extended, holiday break. They will have to get creative and possibly go old-school in their training for when the season does resume.

“We have to have that creativity and adjust to the times here where we got to stay in shape,” said Kevin Kaminski, head coach and GM of the La Ronge Ice Wolves.

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“We have to find ways to work out. Maybe we have to be like Sylvester Stallone in Russia (in the film Rocky IV) working out in the winter with the 10 feet of snow and the big logs, I don’t know — so be creative, fellas!”

When the SJHL is allowed to return, one thing they are hoping will change will be the number of fans allowed in the building. Previously, it was 150 spectators, which really hurt the teams in regards to funding, so players had to pay to play.

Read more: Increased COVID-19 exposure risk at Regina bonspiel, 2 curling clubs

“You know with 150 fans, it doesn’t go very far at all,” Kaminski said. “The boys are paying a little bit here just to help us survive.”

“I would like to think that if those numbers go down and get back to whatever is deemed reasonable, I would like to think that we would be able to start and then we could determine the number of fans that we are allowed,” Chow added.

The SJHL is hoping to return in late December with a mini training camp and restart the regular season in early January.