U-18 AAA hockey returns to Saskatchewan on Oct. 17

On Oct. 8, the Saskatchewan Health Authority announced that it has accepted the Saskatchewan Hockey Association’s plan for a return to play.

For the 12 teams in the U-18 SMAAAHL, that means exhibition play begins on Oct. 17.

Read more:
Saskatoon’s Blazers and Contacts both ready for Mac’s Hockey Tournament in Calgary

Although both of Saskatoon’s teams have been back on the ice for the past few weeks, playing intersquad games as they prepare for a season with an undetermined start date, they see this return to play as a light at the end of the tunnel for their 2021 season.

“The fact that we get to play against other teams soon is… It’s pretty exciting,” Contacts head coach Dale Lambert said. “It’s a welcome relief.”

Story continues below advertisement

Read more:
Saskatoon Blazers treating stretch run like a mini playoff series

“It’s exciting, and daunting all at the same time. You kind of didn’t see it coming,” Blazers head coach Scott Scissons added. “It was always hurry up and wait, and now it’s hurry up and hurry up.”

The competitive nature of those intersquad games has been beneficial to both teams with such a long layoff since their season was shut down due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s going to help because we’ve played,” Scissons said. “Again, there’s going to be some rust — some kids not having played since February. It’s a benefit to us, that’s why we planned it this way.”

One major change for the upcoming season is the scheduling, which will see the league split into two six-team conferences: a north and a south, with teams only playing within their respective conference for the duration of the regular season.

“Unlike a lot of the other sports we’re in almost every community, so that’s a positive thing,” said Saskatchewan Hockey Association general manager Kelly McClintock said.

“But it also scares the crap out of, you know, (the Saskatchewan Health Authority), that we’re that extensive. But it also helps us to show that we can keep it pretty regionalized and do all of the tracing.”

Story continues below advertisement

Another new look facing the league this season will be seen in the stands, as arenas can hold up to 50 per cent capacity in buildings that have marked seating, and where physical distancing measures can be met.

Read more:
Saskatoon Contacts AAA hockey club moving to SaskTel Centre

It makes for an intriguing scenario for the displaced Saskatoon Contacts, who are currently playing out of the Sasktel Centre.

With over two full months before the WHL season is set to resume, they hope to be a big draw, considering they’ll be the highest level of competitive hockey playing in Saskatchewan, with the SJHL yet to set a formal return date.

“I think people are hungry for hockey, so I think that they’ll come,” Lambert said. “I think it’s awesome, the atmosphere will be fantastic.

The U-18 SMAAAHL season begins on Nov. 1.


Click to play video 'Saskatchewan minor hockey teams under fire after travel to Winnipeg tourney'







Saskatchewan minor hockey teams under fire after travel to Winnipeg tourney


Saskatchewan minor hockey teams under fire after travel to Winnipeg tourney





© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

About admin

Check Also

Click to play video

Yukon sees 2 new coronavirus infections, bringing total number of cases to 22 – National

Yukon‘s chief medical health officer says two more people in Watson Lake have tested …