Hockey Alberta has cancelled the remainder of the minor hockey season amid ongoing health restrictions.
“We’ve got almost 10,000 members in our hockey family and they’re frustrated, disappointed, angry and we get that, it’s been a year like no other,” said Steve Hogle, general manager of Hockey Edmonton.
The association suspended its season back in November when the Alberta government announced restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Starting Monday, as part of Step 1 of Alberta's "path forward," children's sports will be allowed if they are related to school activities, but group and team sports will not be permitted.
Step 2 is set to include "further easing of indoor fitness and children's sport and performance," the province's website reads, but it's unclear if that includes team sports.
The earliest Hockey Alberta will be able to return to play is March 1, if restrictions ease by then.
“We’re now looking as some spring programing… we would be looking at skill development with drills,” Hogle said.
“It’s really crazy because every two or three weeks this winter we’ve had the possibility that we might be starting up again so schedulers drop a new plan again, we drop protocols to follow and they get tossed out the window.”
CTV News Edmonton spoke with some parents who are upset by the decision, even if they understand the reasoning.
“The NHL is (playing). What’s the difference between the younger and older guys playing if we take the precautionary measurements?” said Ahmad Abduljalil.
“All it takes is one person with COVID and then they’ll get it, but it’s like that with school. Everything has its ups and downs right now,” said Chantelle Balko.
According to Hogle, Hockey Edmonton has two priorities from member families, to get kids back on the ice and refunds.
“We’re talking to Hockey Canada in terms of how much will their refund me and then we’ll funnel it down to our membership,” said Hogle.
The leagues affected by the decision are:
- Central Alberta Hockey League (CAHL)
- North East Alberta Hockey League (NEAHL)
- Northern Alberta Interlock (NAI)
- All Peace Hockey League (APHL)
- Rocky Mountain Female Hockey League (RMFHL)
- East Central Alberta Female Hockey League (ECAFHL)
- South Central Alberta Hockey League (SCAHL)
- Northern Alberta Hockey League (NAHL)
- Hockey Calgary
- Edmonton Federation Hockey League (EFHL)
- Rural & Edmonton Minor Hockey League (REMHL)
- Rockies Hockey League (RHL)
- Alberta Elite Hockey League (AEHL)
- Alberta Female Hockey League (AFHL)
The Junior B, C, Female and Senior leagues have until Feb. 8 to decide if they will be able to play, according to a Hockey Alberta release.
Hockey Alberta has scheduled town hall sessions on Thursday to provide more updates and answer questions from members.