SIJHL Pauses Hockey Season under Ontario Stay at Home Restrictions

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Photo credit: Rick Baraniuk
Photo credit: Rick Baraniuk

Thunder Bay – SPORTS – The Superior International Junior Hockey League is announcing that activities and games associated with the 2020-21 regular season are paused indefinitely.

Darrin Nicholas, SIJHL Commissioner issued the following statement:

“I applaud our operating member clubs that were able to assemble their teams and remained persistent in our efforts to offer our players a meaningful experience this season despite the monumental challenges. We have proven that we can execute our operations safely and with the discipline required in our billet homes, our communities and on the ice.

“However, our Board of Governors has deemed it impossible to continue to plan for a resumption of play under the current provincial restrictions. We’re locked down through February 11th, and we feel at this point to initiate planning for a February 12th continuation is not productive given our experience with similar restrictive measures that have been extended prior to their expiration.”

The SIJHL is remaining committed to identifying any pathways that may still exist to completing the season, however will only begin evaluating any options when restrictions are loosened enough to support the return to practice and game competition.

Nicholas continued: “Our Board of Governors has defined the conditions under which we shall proceed. Firstly, we must be able to continue to execute with paramount focus on the health and well-being of our players, staff, billet homes and communities. Beyond that, we need to be able to play a meaningful regular season and playoff schedule and determine a champion within our usual mid- late-April time frame.

“Therefore at this time, we have chosen to take a ‘wait and see’ approach, and will re-evaluate the situation further when the environment permits.”

The Superior International Junior Hockey League is a member of the Canadian Junior Hockey League with 7 member teams based in Northwestern Ontario, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused the league’s two US-based teams to recently announce their inability to participate in the 20-21 season and has restricted the league’s operating member and guest teams to 19 total games including 8 regular season games to date.