It’s been nearly a month since Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams hit the ice in the Maritimes and now fans are wondering if they will ever drop the puck again this season.
"Realistically, I don't think it's a surprise to anyone," said hockey fan Brent Desveaux."We are all big time hockey fans, but I think hockey right now is on the back burner."
Most Maritime teams were optimistic they would be able to resume play shortly into the New Year.
The QMJHL has set a date to return to play Jan. 22, but with word today that both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are tightening travel restrictions at their borders, those dates may have to be waved off.
"It's a little uneasy all this waiting and wondering," said Halifax Mooseheads president Brian Urquhart. "We are kind of living life day to day, but we continue to work closely with public health and the province on returning to play."
In Cape Breton, Eagles president Gerard Shaw says the uncertainty is affecting everyone, from players to fans, billets sponsors, and team ownership.
"We're asking our fans and sponsors to be patient with us, and they really, really have," Shaw said. "I give them credit for helping us out with that."
The season is going ahead for Quebec-based teams that are playing a bubble style format beginning later this month. Shaw says that type of format wouldn't make financial sense here in the Maritimes.
"The Quebec teams have all been funded by the Quebec government," said Shaw. "Our teams are still funded by our ownership groups, and by fans and sponsors. So there's a lot at play in the Maritimes for the bubble unless there's a funding mechanism to help that out the same as the Quebec teams."
Fans like Desveaux are still waiting for word from the QMJHL on their next move.
"Well, the NHL is starting Wednesday, what can you do?" Desveaux said. "We're all in the same boat, right.?"
Frustration surrounds a stop-and-start season full of financial difficulties and players and fans preparing for a long winter to come off the ice.