MJHL commissioner Kevin Saurette announced today that the league has made the extremely difficult decision to cancel the remainder of the competitive season which includes regular-season games and playoffs.
In a press release on the Manitoba Junior Hockey League website, Saurette noted that after multiple discussions with Public Health, representatives of the Provincial Government, Facility Managers and Stakeholders, The MJHL Board of Governors have determined that the resumption and completion of the 2020-21 regular league/playoff season are not feasible due to current conditions.
It has become unrealistic to continue operating in a state of hope with so much uncertainty and no timeline provided. It is unfair to our athletes and staff, our community organizations who have been severely impacted financially and the communities/regions our organizations support and garner support from.
When hockey activities were paused as the entire Province moved to Code Red on November 12th, at no time did we not think or work tirelessly towards having the opportunity to resume our season safely. Return to Play scenarios were exhausted with Public Health to allow for a safe, responsible, balanced and financially feasible return to team activities.
This included the MJHL securing Hockey specific CCM Face Masks for on-ice training along with demonstrated ability to safely manage our operations and extensive Return To Play Protocols from July to November 12, 2020. MJHL teams completed 24 Prospect / Training Camps, 400+ On and Off-Ice Training Sessions and 60+ Games safely and responsibly during that time.
In the end, our advocacy efforts were not enough for Public Health to allow for a return to on-ice team training activity, even in a non-contact, professionally managed, closed to the public, distanced, 100% masked and extremely protected environment.
As a result, the Board of Governors sees no reasonable prospect that future restrictions would be sufficiently altered, in time to allow for a feasible gradual return to Regular Season Play this season.
Moving forward, MJHL organizations will have the option to continue to provide Training / Development opportunities, exhibition games, etc. based on their individual circumstances and facility availability under current / updated Public Health Orders and Hockey Manitoba Directives.
Our athletes, staff, organizations, facilities and the entire MJHL community are to be commended for their efforts as they meticulously followed and executed the strict and extensive MJHL Protocols that were put in place to ensure the safety of everyone involved. The MJHL Community were Return To Play leaders throughout the province and beyond and it is disappointing that we were not able to do so once again. I would also like to recognize the entire Manitoba Minor Hockey Community who went above and beyond this season to ensure that the many benefits of organized hockey could be enjoyed in a safe and responsible environment.
The League and Member Organizations operational focus has now turned toward actively stabilizing our financial position, the continued advocacy for the safe and responsible return to on-ice team training activities for all Players / Teams across the Province and planning for upcoming Team Training/Development Activities, Spring Camps, Prospect Camps, Events and Showcases.
The MJHL and each Member Organization will determine based on their own unique circumstances how they will proceed with their commitments to their stakeholders going forward.
I would like to personally thank all of our stakeholders for their commitment, patience and understanding during a very difficult and challenging season.
We are very grateful to our Communities, Billets, Sponsors, Supporters, Officials, Volunteers, League Staff, Team Staff and Players for their support and leadership in navigating through the very difficult challenges faced over this past year.
Although we are extremely saddened to make this announcement, we now look forward to the future as we prepare for bigger and better things for the 2021/22 season.
Commissioner, Manitoba Junior Hockey League