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Sunday , 24 January 2021

Hockey Alberta’s cancellation of Provincials leads to disappointment

Hockey Alberta’s announcement that Provincials has been cancelled for the second consecutive season was not a shock to locals, but that doesn’t take away the hurt of not competing for a big prize.

The decision Wednesday just confirmed some people’s fears that it would not be around again in 2021.

“Not surprised by the news, but disappointed for sure,” said Bonnyville Minor Hockey president Terry Rupp.

“Obviously, some kids look forward to it every year–from the atom level up–to get that opportunity to play in Provincials, but all in all, it’s not unexpected.”

Minor hockey, along with all indoor physical activities, has been shut down since the most stringent health protocols took effect on Dec. 8.

Rupp said in the meantime, teams have found creative ways to stay engaged with each other.

“A lot of Zoom calls for teams and you’ll see even some smaller challenges that coaches have put out to their teams on making sure they’re staying fit and staying in hockey shape. Or just even that sense of them sitting down and communicating, keeping the group together and tight, and being involved as a team as best as they can,” he said.

“I’ve seen pretty cool stories and pictures from home-built rinks, and you just you feel for the kids, because it’s something they look forward to.”

Hockey Alberta said they are aiming to still have games this season and are working with government officials to develop a plan to allow teams to return to practice and gameplay, for kid’s physical and mental well-being.

“Working with League representatives at each level of hockey we hope to be able to salvage the season,” Hockey Alberta said in a release. “The cancellation of Provincial tournaments provides leagues with the opportunity to plan the remainder of the season, scheduling play through until the end of the season for all teams.”

Rupp said once they got the news, they notified coaches and players that there might be light at the end of the tunnel for some hockey activity in the spring.

“We’re hoping for the possibility that we can extend the season and it’s something that will offer our group, for sure,” he said.

“Step one would be just getting back to the rink and practicing with teammates first. That’s what we look forward to and I think we’re expecting probably that they’ll be very limited parent capacity for fans. But I think everybody’s just hoping to get the kids back in an on-ice setting.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.