The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has announced plans to return to play this September.
The league has issued a news release announcing a season start date of Sept. 24.
Should it proceed as scheduled it means the SJHL would begin 2021-22 more or less on time compared to previous years. The league also states that the board of governors and the general managers/coaches of the SJHL teams will be meeting soon to set the schedule for the upcoming season.
The league has also announced some other important dates for the SJHL 2021-22 season. They are:
Oct 4, 5, 6 : SJHL Showcase in Warman;
Dec 19: start of Christmas break;
Dec 27: return from Christmas;
Jan 25 and 26: SJHL/MJHL Showcase in Winnipeg;
March 4: Regular season ends;
March 11: First round of playoffs start;
March 25: Second round starts;
April 8: League finals;
April 29: Anavet Cup starts; and
May 20: Centennial Cup starts in Estevan.
The SJHL has seen heavy disruption of its schedule over the past two seasons due to COVID-19. The pandemic restrictions wiped out the 2020 playoffs, and then wiped out almost the entire 2020-21 season.
The league was able to get only a few games in prior to the suspension of play Nov. 25. A plan to resume play in a bubble format in Weyburn was also scrapped.
But with the vaccine rollout and the government’s reopening plans, as well as a steep decline in cases, the league says they are moving ahead with their own re-opening plans.
“The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and the teams of the SJHL have waited an extended period to have a normal hockey season,” the league stated in its news release.
“The SJHL and the Saskatchewan Government thank the efforts of Saskatchewan people to follow the rules of the provincial health order and to get vaccinated. We are moving forward in our roadmap to get back to normal, which includes SJHL hockey starting this fall.”
Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said in a statement, “Hockey has always been a key part of our culture and economy in Saskatchewan communities and we look forward to working with the league to see the players back on the ice.”