The Saskatchewan Hockey Association has issued its latest update on the status of the upcoming hockey season as of Wednesday.
Despite a flurry of rumors regarding potential start dates for hockey, the SHA’s update specifically mentioned that for the junior and the senior hockey leagues there is no official start date yet.
“At this time, we cannot provide a start date for Leagues throughout the province - NO GAMES OF ANY KIND ARE SANCTIONED UNTIL THE SHA IS PROVIDED APPROVAL FROM THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT and the SASK HEALTH AUTHORITY.
“Teams can certainly be formed, registered and practice until it is determined games will begin.
“Organizers must keep a record of attendees. All players, spectators, staff, and volunteers should be provided with a sign-in on arrival option, with name, phone number and/or email to facilitate contact tracing, if necessary. Records of attendance must be retained for a minimum of one month. Where possible, do not use a common pen. Providing this information is voluntary for attendees and can only be used for the purposes of COVID-19 contact tracing.”
For minor hockey, the SHA states it is in the “Identification and Training Phase.”
Minor Hockey Associations who host AA teams can host identification camps on the weekends specified within the SHA Regulations. Camps must adhere to the Re-Open Sask Guidelines and just be restricted to a 50-person limit, a limit that includes coaches/staff, instructors, participants from multiple teams, officials and volunteers. A total of 30 individuals within that total of 50 can participate in one ice session at a time.
But once again, there is not yet a start date for actual games. The SHA states: “Once teams are formed, they are restricted to practicing together – NO GAMES OF ANY KIND ARE SANCTIONED UNTIL THE SHA IS PROVIDED APPROVAL FROM THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT and the SASK HEALTH AUTHORITY.”
The SHA also states that “there will be no tournaments sanctioned in Saskatchewan until the new year when that will be reassessed based upon the COVID-19 situation within the province.” There will also be no out of province travel allowed for exhibition games or tournaments until the new year when that will similarly be reassessed.
This latest update from the SHA comes amid news that an internal email had circulated among SJHL teams that the start of their season had been pushed back from Sept. 25 by a further two weeks to Oct. 9. Teams have confirmed on social media this is the tentative start date, however the league has made no official announcement as of yet.
There were also reports on social media that the SHA was proposing Nov. 1 as a start date for all leagues, but based on the latest communication from the SHA that date is also not set as of yet.
In any event, ice has gone in at several SJHL arenas including at the North Battleford Civic Centre this week, in preparation for an expected return to play in 2020.
The Battlefords Minor Hockey Association has issued a statement on its website dated Aug. 11 regarding the return to play.
“As the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan continues on its course, all of us are wondering what that means for Minor Hockey. There are so many questions to be asked. We ask for your patience as SHA continues to meet with the Sask Government and the Chief Medical Officer to develop further protocols and establish start dates, schedules etc. BMHA anxiously awaits word from SHA and will immediately pass on information to our membership as soon as it becomes available.”
In the meantime, BMHA is asking participants to complete their registration for the 2020/2021 hockey season. But they are not asking for payment “until there is a clearer picture of what the upcoming season will look like”.
Dates have also been posted for their AA tryout weekends. They are
Sept. 10-13 for U18AA and U15 AA Male and Female, with a registration deadline of Sept. 20, and
Sept. 17-20th for U13 AA tryouts, with a registration deadline of Sept. 27.