On Monday, Hockey Manitoba announced the difficult decision that the annual spring time Provincials – typically played during the months of February and March – had been cancelled for the 2021 running of the post-season tournament.
With COVID-19 the general culprit of most postponements/cancellations through the better portion of 2020, yet another event has fallen victim to the fast-spreading virus that currently shows no signs of slowing down its spread.
“The decision to cancel the minor hockey championships has been made with the safety of all members and the community in mind – these tournaments will not be rescheduled for the 2021 season,” Hockey Manitoba wrote in a statement released Monday. “Hockey Manitoba remains optimistic that we can regroup and host the 2022 Hockey Manitoba Provincial Championships presented by Cargill Ltd. next season.”
Following the completion of the regular season, roughly 250 Manitoban teams of high-level gather for the Hockey Manitoba Provincials in a battle for the provincial championship for each level of play. Typically, 4,000 players are involved in the spring event. Set to be included in the Provincials were the following divisions: Male/Female Atom, Male/Female Bantam, Male/Female Peewee, Male/Female Midget. Various categories based on age group include: Rural AAA, AA, A, A1, A2, B and C.
With most 2020-21 hockey seasons having been put on pause back in late-October, no indication has yet been made as to when recreational sports may return to the fold, or if the 2020-21 season will even resume. Should it, it will most certainly last beyond the originally-scheduled February/March Provincials.
“The cancellation will provide leagues with more time to plan the current season and the ability to extend the season past February as we return to play,” Hockey Manitoba added in the statement. “As we return to play this season, provincial leagues will still have the ability to name a provincial champion and compete to represent Manitoba at a national tournament.”