The Saskatchewan Government and Ministry of Health have officially shut down the remainder of the 2020-21 SJHL season, made public in a release on Tuesday morning by SJHL Commissioner Bill Chow.
Due to the high number of COVID cases and new variants present in the province, the Government will not give the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) the green light with these new developments.
The SJHL was granted permission to start the 2020-21 season in November 2020 after a two-month training camp period. Spectators were limited to 150 or less, with teams and facilities forced to adhere to public health policies, as well as unique and specific rules and regulations for hockey. However, the season was suspended on November 23rd by the Saskatchewan Government due to new public health orders, despite there only being one positive COVID case linked to an SJHL team (not caused during a game or hockey activities).
The SJHL and a task force spearheaded by several SJHL coaches, including Bruins’ Head Coach/GM Jason Tatarnic, have been working around the clock since Christmas on a Return-To-Play protocol that would be accepted by the Saskatchewan Government and the Ministry of Health. Despite their efforts, and despite Junior A hockey being approved in other provinces as well as an approved ‘WHL Hub’ in Regina’ in February and March, the SJHL’s effort to get back on the ice were not approved.
With the 2020-21 season now officially cancelled, the SJHL and its’ 12 member clubs will now attempt to turn their attention towards the 2021-22 season. It’s hopeful that the regular season will start on time in September 2021 with fans allowed at full capacity.
The Estevan Bruins have six graduating players that have had their final junior hockey season come to an abrupt and disappointing end. There will be a feature on each player over the coming weeks.
2 – Austin King-Cunningham, 4 – Devan Harrison, 11 – Kade McMillen, 14 – Eddie Gallagher, 18 – Ryder Pierson, 27 – Tanner Mortenson