The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Flin Flon Bombers have decided to do the right thing. Although taking some time and consideration, the team chose to not participate in its scheduled games this past weekend – games which were already rescheduled/modified – in order to comply with the province of Manitoba’s most recent ‘Code Red’ orders.
With Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin putting the entire province into the restricted level this past Thursday, hockey leagues across the province that had not yet shut down competition ensured that all sanctioned hockey activities were put on pause for the foreseeable future.
The only team within the province that seemed to be in question as to whether it would participate in the mandatory shutdown – other than the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze – was the SJHL’s Bombers. The only team within the league not situated in Saskatchewan has long been a member of the storied Junior ‘A’ community to its neighbours immediately to the west.
Flin Flon’s Arena, Whitney Forum, is situated roughly 700 metres from the Saskatchewan border, as the border-town mirrors Saskatchewan’s Creighton, two communities which share many local resources. Flin Flon may as well be an honorary Saskatchewan town.
Following the widely documented tale of the MJHL’s Blues and Freeze blatantly disregarding the health directive as to only essential services being allowed to operate during ‘Code Red’, the Bombers were under high scrutiny with their plan of attack moving forward following the province’s orders.
A string of bad luck saw Flin Flin’s home opener cancelled, as poor weather near Melfort kept the Mustangs from venturing out on the road for their scheduled Saturday, November 7 showdown. Following Flin Flon’s 3-1 loss in Melfort on Friday, the second half of the home-and-home was rescheduled for Tuesday, November 10. It was a game that the Bombers probably would have preferred not to have played. The home team lost 8-3 and will now have that faint final memory of hockey moving forward.
Although already playing the game following Dr. Roussin’s Tuesday morning announcement, the team did have its SJHL schedule to follow. A decision was quickly made on November 11 to play the team’s back-to-back home games on November 13 and 14 against the Klippers in Kindersley, as opposed to hosting them against the province’s orders at home, as originally scheduled.
The decision was highly criticized before the club announced that its two weekend games – now moved to Kindersley – had been officially postponed in a vague statement released on Twitter on the afternoon of Thursday, November 12, saying that more details would follow… which have yet to come.
Although having plans in place to play on the road against the Battlefords North Stars on November 20 and 21, while rescheduling the first half of a home-and-home against La Ronge on November 27, the team and league made the decision to halt all Flin Flon Bombers activity effective November 12. No activity was planned in Flin Flon through November, while originally considering holding practices in Creighton, the Bombers opted out of that following the province’s guidelines. While the remainder of the SJHL teams carry on with the 2020-21 season, all Bombers activity has been put on pause, making Dr. Roussin very happy.