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The Provincial Junior Hockey League is looking at an October 1, start to the season this year – that's if all goes well and the province goes ahead with the next stage of re-opening.
Teams around the province are now gearing up for the new season with summer camps after this past season was cut short mid way through the year when it became apparent that restrictions would not allow any kind of a real season to continue.
Teams did manage to get in some exhibition style games, but with new rules in place and no contact allowed, players described those games as being more of a practice than a real game.
The Alliston Hornets will be holding their prospect camp on July 17 – 28, at the home of the Hornets – the New Tecumseth Recreation Centre.
This past season, club executive said they were ready to go whenever a season was going to start, saying “we pretty much have the whole team from last year back again except the over age players.”
The team graduated more players this year meaning they will be looking to fill those slots on the roster.
Many players who were going into their final year of eligibility in Junior hockey felt like they were being robbed of the opportunity to play their final year. After a decision by Hockey Canada that there will not be any kind of consideration to allow players to return for an extra year to make up for the lost hockey season, some players started a petition to try and convince the governing body to allow graduating players to return.
However, a statement issued by Hockey Canada in April, said they have decided to continue with the regular schedule of things to avoid having the situation trickle down to younger players who want to continue through the hockey ranks.
“Hockey Canada has empathy for any young person who has been deprived of the opportunity to experience significant events in their lives over the past year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as attending their high school graduation, leaving home for the first time to attend university, or participating in extra-curricular activities, including playing hockey,” the statement said. “While the losses suffered by those individuals, to both their physical and mental health, is immeasurable, Hockey Canada does not believe making changes to its age Divisions, to address the needs of one age group, is the right thing to do for its many other younger players, who have been similarly affected over the past eleven months. Accordingly, Hockey Canada does not anticipate changing its age classifications for the 2021-22 season.”
If the hockey season does get underway in October, it is still not known how many fans will be allowed to attend a game.
Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times