'You practice in order to play': Remaining Sask. minor hockey games cancelled
SASKATOON -- The recent extension of a provincial public health order has ended the minor hockey season in Saskatchewan, but teams will still be able to practice.
“For us, 95 per cent of our membership, the season is done the end of March,” said General Manager of the Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA) Kelly McClintock. “Effectively for us, from a gameplay perspective, there won’t be anything for the rest of the season.”
The province recently extended a public health order allowing players 18 years and younger can practise and train in groups of eight until March 19th. The public health order has been in place since Nov. 27.
“You practice in order to play,” said McClintock. “To not be able to see the fruit of your work within in a game situation, that's the disappointing part.”
Executive Director for Saskatoon Minor Hockey Kelly Boes said players in the city will be able to practice until the third week of March or the end of March.
“The smaller towns some have already taken their ice out or shut their plants off. In Luseland for sure at the end of the month they’re shutting down,” said Luseland minor hockey coach Dallas Cairns.
Cairns has children ages 4, 7 and 9 all playing minor hockey. He said he was a grateful for getting on the ice with them even it was just for practice.
“If you look at the neighbouring provinces or even across Canada, most kids weren’t even allowed on the ice at all, so we’re pretty fortunate," Cairns told CTV News.
Cairns would of loved to see his children receiving trophies at a tournament but he feels there is time ahead for that.
“You’re playing initiation hockey, the only time you really care is when the buzzer goes and you race off the ice,” said Cairns. “As you get into midget and bantam, I think those kids, obliviously those kids want to be playing.”
SHA believes players will have a thirst for the game come September 2021.
“We were at about 93 percent of last year’s registration, so we really felt positive about that," said McClintock. "Hopefully that bodes well for us going into the fall."