Players with the Dryden GM Ice Dogs and Kenora AAA Thistles have had their seasons stunted, as the Superior International Junior Hockey League announced a pause in their 2020-2021 schedule due to COVID-19 restrictions and concerns.

SIJHL Commissioner Darrin Nicholas says they remain committed to finding ways to continue the season, but will only begin to do so when restrictions allow the return to games and practices.

“I applaud our operating member clubs that were able to assemble their teams and remained persistent in our efforts to offer our players a meaningful experience this season despite the monumental challenges. We have proven that we can execute our operations safely and with the discipline required in our billet homes, our communities and on the ice.”

“However, our Board of Governors has deemed it impossible to continue to plan for a resumption of play under the current provincial restrictions. We’re locked down through February 11, and we feel at this point to initiate planning for a February 12 continuation is not productive given our experience with similar restrictive measures that have been extended prior to their expiration.”

“Our Board of Governors has defined the conditions under which we shall proceed. Firstly, we must be able to continue to execute with paramount focus on the health and well-being of our players, staff, billet homes and communities. Beyond that, we need to be able to play a meaningful regular season and playoff schedule and determine a champion within our usual mid- late-April time frame.”

“Therefore at this time, we have chosen to take a ‘wait and see’ approach, and will re-evaluate the situation further when the environment permits.”

The SIJHL had previously announced that the Wisconsin Lumberjacks and Thief River Falls Norskies would be pausing their 2020-2021 SIJHL seasons due to COVID-19 and border restrictions.

The Lumberjacks were one of two new teams added to the SIJHL this year, along with the Kam River Fighting Walleye. The Kenora AAA Thistles along with the U16 and U18 Thunder Bay AAA Kings would later be added to the league, as they couldn’t take part in Manitoba’s league.

For more information:
Ice Dogs president welcomes Thistles
New home for SIJHL’s Fighting Walleye