On Tuesday, the Keystone Junior Hockey League announced that it would begin its exhibition season with a set of back-to-back pre-season games this coming weekend. Following a long offseason that saw the KJHL playoffs cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, the five teams making up Manitoba’s northernmost junior hockey league are most certainly champing at the bit to get back into live game action.
Although a couple teams have yet to fully formulate their official 2020-21 playing rosters, exhibition matchups have already been set for the coming weekend featuring two of the member clubs. The Nisichawayasikh Cree Nation Flames and Opaskwayak Cree Nation Storm will battle it out in a home-and-home on Friday and Sunday evenings.
Friday’s contest is set for a 7:30 PM puck drop at NCN, while Sunday’s game will take place roughly five hours south of Nelson House down Highway 6 in OCN. The second game of the exhibition season will go at 6:00 PM with the Storm playing host to the Flames. Additional exhibition games will be added to the pre-season schedule as rosters continue to take shape.
Typically a 28-34 game regular season, the official number of games and 2020-21 regular season schedule has yet to be finalized, however a season start date of Saturday, November 7 has already been determined. More information as to COVID-19 protocols will be available at the individual community clubs.
Last season, NCN and OCN led the way atop the KJHL scoreboard with 23-7-2 and 20-12-0 records, respectively. The Peguis Juniors and Cross Lake Islanders also maintained records slightly over .500, while last place Norway House North Stars put up a dismal seven points and a -224 goal differential.