Minor hockey season falls victim to virus scare

Door is left open a crack for a resumption at some point

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

This was to have been one of the better years for minor hockey in Slave Lake. At least two teams were headed to provincial championship tournaments. Several others were battling for and had a decent chance of winning their league.

But thanks to the COVID-19 virus scare, Hockey Canada pulled the plug on all of it. Hockey Alberta followed suit. So that covers all events sanctioned by either of those bodies, which of course includes the Slave Lake Minor Hockey Association. Its president, Chris Taylor, calls the decision “difficult yet prudent,” given the circumstances. “In my opinion, Hockey Alberta made the right decision in the best interest of everyone who participates, attends and supports our great game.”

Here’s what Hockey Canada had to say:

“Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities include all Hockey Alberta-sanctioned activities. This means that all Hockey Alberta league games, playoffs, practices, camps and Provincial, Regional and National Championships are cancelled at the Minor, Female, Junior, Senior and Sledge levels.”

That sounds pretty final, but the wording on the Northern Interlock League website (the league most Slave Lake minor hockey teams play in) cautions against making assumptions.

“We are in uncharted territory and it is a work in progress. For now, ALL Minor Hockey events – our games, practices, any tournaments, including NAI Playoffs and Hockey Alberta Provincials are not allowed.”

The move by Hockey Canada and its provincial and territorial affiliates followed close on the heels suspension of the by the National Hockey League. Where that leaves organizations not sanctioned by Hockey Canada remains to be seen. Unless the federal or provincial government bans every team sporting event, some could still occur. But the cascading effect was in full force right up until press time, with one cancellation after another.

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