Late return to ice for Jr C team

·2 min read

MT. BRYDGES - It’s well past the drop-dead date of 1 February 2021 previously given for the 2020/21 hockey season, the Junior C Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) is calling any hope for a season a lost cause.

“We may still have some teams that, if they can find ice, mount no-contact scrimmages or host development skates for their rostered players,” explained Chair of the PJHL Board of Directors, Sandra Neubauer. Normally, the league would be near finished with their season at this point.

The switch from Red-Control to Orange-Restrict in Middlesex-London has allowed teams to get back on the ice with up to 50 players. Mt. Brydges Bulldogs hit the ice for the first time in two months on Tuesday, 9 March 2021. They saw a good turnout of players for the practice session.

This would have normally been the final season for players born in 1999. Sadly, the season has been wiped away for Bulldogs overagers Michael Rowe, Sam Baker, Colin VanRooyen, and Russel Kelly.

The Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) Board of Directors have made the decision to not allow 1999-born players to participate next year. As a member of the OHF, the Ontario Hockey Association and its leagues must abide by this ruling.

The Bulldogs association has started branching out in new ways to connect with the community. A podcast dubbed Beyond the Pound, hosted by past-President Nick Sakellis and produced by Kassy Howard, gives an inside look into the minds of Bulldogs players, coaches, and staff.

“We are using this as a vehicle to promote those sponsors who have been there for so many years,” explains Bulldogs President Andy Friyia.

“This is also serving as somewhat of a test pilot as we workout the logistics of live-streaming our games,” he adds.

If the Covid-19 rules persist into next year, team management could seek to replace the gate revenue via pay-per-view streams. Fans could be celebrating from the comfort of their couch.

McKinley Leonard-Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner