Playing the waiting game

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Netminder Chase Wutzke pounces on a loose puck following a shot by forward Gage Helm during the Prince Albert Mintos’ fall camp at the Art Hauser Centre.

Mintos brass await start of season following fall camp

As with everything else at the moment, the sporting world is adapting to the always-changing environment that goes with the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s especially true for the Prince Albert Mintos, who found out firsthand just how quickly things can change during their fall camp this weekend at the Art Hauser Centre.

“We had just stepped outside to hold a meeting with our committed parents and (Mintos team manager) Kalen (Wright) and I were talking to the families about when we wanted them to show up after camp, but we didn’t realize that the government had announced that they were delaying the opening of schools for another week,” Mintos head coach Danton Danielson said. “We were talking from the old information and then the parents had informed us that things had changed, which we didn’t know about as we were so focused on the camp.

“Everyone’s flying by the seat of their pants right now and it’s definitely a wait and see situation as everything is changing all of the time. We feel for the families that are sending their kids up here with a bit of uncertainty. As a result, we’re doing our best to stay on top of everything and keeping everyone informed so we can make the transition as easy as possible.”

The start date for the 2020-21 Saskatchewan Male Under-18 AAA Hockey League campaign has yet to be determined as the Saskatchewan Hockey Association has not announced a set date for when games can take place.

“It sounds like the league has some plans in place but they still need approval from the higher-ups, and we 100 per cent respect that,” Danielson said.

“We all want to come back and play, but there are things that are more important than hockey. We don’t want to return and do it at the expense of the health of the population.”

This past weekend’s camp, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, marked the first time that the Mintos have been on the ice since they were swept in the quarter-finals by the Saskatoon Contacts on Feb. 29.

“I thought things went pretty smoothly, especially when it came to following all of the guidelines and protocols that were put in place by the province and the city in terms of the number of people we could have in the building,” Danielson said.

“In terms of the on-ice play, we were impressed by the high pace that we saw in the scrimmages. There was a little variation in terms of the players who have been on the ice a little more this summers, especially with those who are in the bigger cities compared to the rural areas and smaller towns, but I thought everyone did well and we have some tough decisions to make for the final spots on our team.”

The Mintos added a forward to their roster on Tuesday as they signed 15-year-old Carter Hanson.

Hanson, who is from Saskatoon, had 39 points in 27 games for the Saskatoon Generals Bantam AA program last season.

He also had four points in four playoff games for the club and was a fifth round pick by the Kindersley Klippers during June’s Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Bantam Draft.