With no ice, no practices, and no games at all, local junior hockey players have changed their focus to pre-paring for the start of the next season – hopefully in September 2021.
The Alliston Hornets got a few exhibition games in before Christmas, but that’s all they have been able to do this year.
The players had been anticipating a start to the season in January, but learned everything had been cancelled.
Braden Henderson, alternate captain for the Alliston Junior C Hornets, was starting his fi rst season as a de-fenceman for the Alliston team.
“We were a little surprised, but we kind of saw it coming the way things were going with COVID,” Braden said of learning the season was called off. “We were definitely disappointed. We were looking forward to the season. I though we as a team were going to do pretty good. We had a lot of returning players.”
Although the Hornets were able to get in a few exh-bition games before the holidays, the rules and style of play had been changed to accommodate physical restric-tion rules.
“I played four or five games,” Braden said. “We were playing two games in a night and splitting the team in half. Half the team would play the first game and the other half would play the second game. We were rolling two lines with four defencemen. We were playing with no penalties and no face-offs. When a whistle blew for an off-side, the possession changed. After a goal, they just took the puck and went. It was very tiring - you usually get a bit of a break with the whistle. You really had to keep your head up. It was weird to play hockey without contact. It was different style hockey for sure.”
If a penalty was assessed, a player would get a penalty shot instead of removing a player from the ice.
With no hockey taking place, Braden is focusing on his studies at Georgian College where he studies business management, but he keeps in shape with dry land training.
With the sport in hiatus, team management is now focusing on next season.
“Right now, everybody is trying to make their teams the best possible for the next season,” Braden said. “In the off time you can spend time on things like recruiting players.”
There is no word yet from the sports governing bodies as to when hockey may be able to resume.
Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times