After a very hot end to the first half of the season, the Dryden GM Ice Dogs (16-9-1-0) are now in limbo as the Superior International Junior Hockey League has paused the season.
The pause comes after additional public health measures by the province came into effect that saw the closure of recreational facilities, which includes hockey rinks.
Players have been advised that they will remain at home until the end of January, and won't return until the league is clear on a return to play date.
This is the third time since the pandemic began that COVID-19 has either paused or canceled the season for the Ice Dogs.
Though the season is on a pause Ice Dogs President, Mike Sveinson is more optimistic for play to resume this time, compared to previous experiences.
“We do have a little more tools at our disposal to deal with a situation like this, when this first started happening there we didn’t have the knowledge or anything to deal with anything coming down the pipe,” said Sveinson.
Sveinson added the team has looked to management for questions, so he has come up with a creative method to answer the player's questions, and to keep their spirits up.
“I’m setting up periodic Zoom calls with these guys to keep them informed about the status of the season, and try to do some things that we can to stay connected during the period of time when we can’t have them all together.”
SIJHL Commissioner, Darrin Nicholas made an official statement on pausing the season.
“We’re honouring the lockdown. We’re prepared to resume when we are able and confident we’ll have a proper resolution to our season this year,” noted Nicholas.
Dryden would have opened up the second half of the season Friday (January 7, 2021) night in Thunder Bay against the North Stars (15-7-3-0).
Sveinson has turned to social media to become an advocate for not only the Ice Dogs but as well for those in youth sports for play to resume.
“We’re forgetting about their physical, mental health, and overall well-being. There is collateral damage to these lockdowns, and to the approach, we’ve taken to keep them out of sports. When it comes to youth sports I will advocate for them cause someone needs to,” concluded Sveinson.