The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) began the battle and now they are looking to finish it.
The league was able to get through a training camp and get the season underway for a handful of games before the province changed restrictions amid the fight against COVID-19, putting them back into “pause” mode.
It is where they remain at this time, but SJHL president Bill Chow is hoping they can follow the Western Hockey League (WHL) and return to play to complete a shortened season.
“The Western Hockey League has been very obliging and has allowed us to use their document and we’re trying to utilize as much of that as possible,” Chow said .
“We have to adapt to what we can bring forward into one location or two locations and see how that will be acceptable.”
Regina is acting as the WHL’s East Division hub city. All players, coaches and hockey personal are using the residence on the University of Regina campus for accommodations.
The SJHL similarly contacted the University of Saskatchewan about using its residence as part of their hub, but it is still being used by some students so the league is looking for another location.
“Regardless of where we are going, I think it would probably boil down to someplace with a large number of hotels that would be available and doing whatever we have to,” Chow said.
The players just want to get back on the ice. The location of the hub city is not of much concern, just returning to the ice is what is crucial, especially to the players in their final year of eligibility.
“You know what? We have seven 20-year-olds this season, and it’s going to be their last year of junior hockey and hopefully most will go onto either play college hockey or get a college or university degree,” said Scott Barney, the Humboldt Broncos’ head coach and general manager.
For now, the teams and the fans will remain optimistic.
“No matter if it is in Humboldt or Estevan or Kindersley, people just want to watch hockey,” Barney said.
“That starts from the kids, that are five to six years old, to even the senior hockey.
“Hopefully we can open more things here with the government as the cases drop.”