Saskatchewan health officials have reportedly turned down a proposal from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League that would have allowed for a higher attendance cap.
This means the league will have to start its regular season, set to begin Nov. 6, with a 150-person limit, according to an update posted by the SJHL late Sunday night.
The gate-driven league has been pushing for a higher attendance limit due to concerns of the potential financial fallout clubs could face over further losses in revenue.
The Estevan Bruins said in a statement Monday the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Ministry of Health will review the cap again prior to the start of the second week of regular season hockey, but in the meantime the team is re-evaluating its plan for season ticket holders this season.
“We are disappointed in that the SJHL’s proposal to begin the season at a higher cap, subject to observing social distancing and other health and safety protocols, was not approved,” the statement reads. “That would have enabled us to accommodate all of our season ticket holders, which stand at about 600.
“We ask for your continued patience as we navigate through the changes.”November 2, 2020
Several other clubs also posted updates on what the development means going forward, most only saying plans are being worked on.
“This is not the number we had worked toward or hoped for. This number could be increased at any time, however from a business standpoint, we need to budget for 150 spectators,” Battlefords North Stars President Shandon Reichert said in a statement. “Making changes, which are not ideal, is the only way our club can remain in operation.”
To our Fans and Supporters: Please go to our website to view the most recent update as it relates to spectator capacity and pass holders. https://t.co/ctuSXu7Kxd— North Stars (@SJHL_NorthStars) November 2, 2020
The Melfort Mustangs have already released details for how this will impact its 300 current season ticket holders, who will be split into two groups and alternate games.
“This is our only way to accommodate all 300 season ticket holders wanting to watch Mustang hockey this year,” the Mustangs said. “If and when our capacity goes up, we will merge both season ticket groups, and everyone will then be welcomed back at all games.”
Season Ticket Update! Click here for more information!https://t.co/cIZbTCDHGe— Melfort Mustangs (@SJHL_Mustangs) November 2, 2020
The SJHL regular season is set to begin with five games on Nov. 6 and six games on Nov. 7 with a Monday night contest between the Notre Dame Hounds and Weyburn Red Wings on Nov. 9.
Regular season kicks off Friday, continuing with SHA guidelines including a maximum of 150 fans in attendance. https://t.co/VkyyNZQdbt— SJHL (@theSJHL) November 2, 2020