Prairie Post (East Edition)

HJHL sea­son can­celled

- By Ryan McCracken Sports · Ice Hockey · Chicago Cubs · Minor Hockey League · Coaldale Copperheads

Al­berta News­pa­per Group

The 2020-21 Her­itage Ju­nior Hockey League sea­son is no more.

Hockey Al­berta an­nounced Wed­nes­day that its se­nior and ju­nior leagues – ex­clud­ing the AJHL – have “come to the unan­i­mous de­ci­sion to con­clude all reg­u­lar

league play” for the rest of the cam­paign. While it means no more reg­u­lar sea­son ac­tion, Cubs pres­i­dent Troy San­dau says there is still hope for ex­hi­bi­tion play if guide­lines al­low for it in the com­ing months.

“We had a lit­tle glim­mer of hope that things would speed up and re­stric­tions would lift but that wasn’t the case,” San­dau said in a phone call with the News. “Ul­ti­mately it was de­cided that we would call the reg­u­lar sea­son. We’re now look­ing at po­ten­tially just ex­hi­bi­tion games go­ing by the step-phases. With our time­line, that would put us at mid-to-end of March (Step 3).”

The news comes af­ter a lengthy hia­tus for the HJHL and the Cubs – who got in just two games be­fore COVID cases on the ri­val Coal­dale Cop­per­heads can­celled the re­main­der of their four-game sea­sonopener in early Novem­ber. The league then hit pause al­to­gether later that month be­fore Wed­nes­day’s an­nounce­ment wiped the sea­son from the slate.

The Cubs had stated in June – un­der a pre­vi­ous board – that it would be tak­ing a hia­tus from the HJHL due to COVID-19 and re­lated fi­nan­cial con­cerns, though that de­ci­sion was re­versed in Au­gust upon the elec­tion of a new board. De­spite just get­ting in a pair of games, San­dau – who was elected to his role in Au­gust – says it was a worth­while ex­pe­ri­ence for the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“I ab­so­lutely com­mend our board of di­rec­tors. All the hard work we went through got the team back to where it should have been. It was dis­ap­point­ing hear­ing the Cubs weren’t go­ing to have a sea­son due to fi­nan­cial (rea­sons), but

new board mem­bers brought new ideas and we were able to get the kids what they wanted, and to have them on the ice while nav­i­gat­ing COVID and all the re­stric­tions as well,” said San­dau.

“Each one of us (on the board) thrive in dif­fer­ent roles and com­bined to­gether I think we did a pretty good job of what we set out to do. We achieved that goal (of play­ing this sea­son), not as long as we wanted to, but we hope to be to­gether next year to show our hearts are in it and our time is de­voted to putting on a high cal­i­bre club on and off the ice.”

 ?? File photo ?? Hos­til­i­ties be­tween teams like Medicine Hat and Coal­dale were of­fi­cially halted.
File photo Hos­til­i­ties be­tween teams like Medicine Hat and Coal­dale were of­fi­cially halted.

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