Leadership with the Dryden GM Ice Dogs say they’re still hoping to return to the ice as soon as possible.
During February 11’s Board of Governors meeting, it was announced that the league will remain in a holding pattern, until hearing what Ontario decides to do as of February 16, when their stay-at-home orders are set to end.
Depending on which level of COVID-19 restrictions northwestern Ontario will face in the provincial COVID-19 framework, competitive sports may or may not be allowed. If the area was placed into Red-Control or Grey-Lockdown, they wouldn’t be allowed.
Late Friday afternoon, Ontario announced northwestern Ontario would be placed into the Yellow-Protect level of restrictions, which would allow competitive sports. The SIJHL has yet to comment since the update.
The Superior International Junior Hockey League announced a ‘pause’ to their season last month, affecting both the Ice Dogs and Kenora AAA Thistles, as well as teams in Thunder Bay, Red Lake and Fort Frances.
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.
League leadership stressed their season is still considered paused, not cancelled. Before the pause, teams took part in exhibition games before 4 teams were able to take part in 4 regulation games each. The Ice Dogs and Kam River Fighting Walleye were leading the league with a 3-1 record.
The Lumberjacks were one of two new teams added to the SIJHL this year, along with the 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, Thistles affected by SIJHL’s pause
Ice Dogs president welcomes Thistles