Bombers pause season until Christmas

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is down to 11 teams until at least January.

The Junior A circuit announced on Monday evening that the Flin Flon Bombers have paused their activities until the end of the Christmas break, when they hope to resume play.

“The SJHL and the Bombers have been having discussions with Health Authorities in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as with representatives of the Saskatchewan Government, since Manitoba was deemed a Red Zone due to the increasing numbers of COVID-19,” the league said in a prepared statement.

“Keeping the health of their players and communities in mind, the Bombers have exhausted all avenues to finding a solution to play, which included alternative venues for them to practice and play.”

Among the restrictions that the Bombers faced was the closure of the Whitney Forum and the team’s office.

According to Eric Westhaver of the Flin Flon Reminder, team officials tried to create a makeshift bubble in Saskatchewan, allowing the team to practice in the Creighton Sportex while playing all their games on the road until the Whitney Forum was available for play.

The team also planned to temporarily move all players to Saskatchewan-based billets and submitted a plan to the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Meanwhile, the BCHL also lost a team for the 2020-21 season as the Wenatchee Wild announced on Tuesday that they would be taking a hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions in the state of Washington and the continued closure of the Canada-U.S. border.

“This is a sad day for the Wenatchee Wild organization,” Wild general manager Bliss Littler said in a prepared statement.

“We feel for our players, housing families, fans, season ticket holders, corporate sponsors and the Town Toyota Center. It’s not a good day for any of us. This will hurt for a while for sure, but I know we will get through this and we will be back better than ever for the 2021-2022 season.”

The BCHL had announced on Monday that they have delayed the start of their season until Tuesday, Dec. 8.