Grande Prairie Storm centre ice logo (Erica Fisher, 2DayFM)
The Alberta Junior Hockey League has been given the green light to restart the 2020/2021 regular season, under the protocols of a comprehensive Return to Play Plan.
Players, coaches, and support staff are currently self-isolating, with sights set at the beginning of March to open training camp. According to the AJHL, regular season play will also kick off next month, with games exclusively played on the weekends until the end of May.
Grande Prairie Storm Vice President Chris Millsap says it’s great news, particularly for the players who have been waiting with baited breath for over four months for something like this to happen.
“It’s by no means the end of the road, but it’s a great step in the right direction to getting us back on the ice before the end of this season.”
Millsap says the team, along with the entire league, have committed to utilizing private PCR testing through DynaLIFE every week throughout the remainder of the season, and twice before commencing training camp. Millsap says the testing protocols used by the NHL, and IIHF over the last six months are the safety threshold the league must maintain to ensure the safety of players, staff, and the community.
“We’re imposing on the community by having these players live in billet homes, back working their jobs in the community, and we just aren’t going to take any chances,” he says.
“We are going to do everything we can to go over and above the Alberta Health Services criteria here,” he adds.
While spectators still aren’t allowed in arenas across Alberta, Millsap says home games will be broadcast locally on Telus Optik TV, as well as online on Hockey TV.