On Saturday, January 30, Hockey Winnipeg announced the official cancellation of the remainder of the 2020-21 minor hockey season and playoffs.
For many, it hadn’t even begun.
“Effective January 30, 2021, the Board of Directors and Executive Members of Hockey Winnipeg have made the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of the 2020/2021 Regular Hockey Season and Playoffs,” a directive from Hockey Winnipeg read.
Despite the directing excluding teams that participate in provincially-run leagues, this piece of news means that minor hockey will not be played within Winnipeg until the beginning of the 2021-22 season.
According to Hockey Winnipeg President Chris Hall and Executive Director Ian McArton, the plan was always to have a return-to-play, when safe. However, the league just ran out of time with the continued provincial health order (PHO) and mandate against sanctioned sporting activity.
“It has always been the hope of Hockey Winnipeg to return to scheduled league play, however the current restrictions, timelines and ice availability does not make that feasible,” the statement continued. “This decision is not closing the door on hockey this year, just Hockey Winnipeg regular season and playoff games. This will allow for Area Associations within Hockey Winnipeg to provide local programming for the balance of the season as public health restrictions may allow.”
For parents/guardians interested in understanding how refunds will work, Hockey Winnipeg and the respective Area Associations will begin working on the details of returning registration, regular season and team fees in the coming weeks.
“The refunds will be pro-rated based upon the amount of activity that has taken place and what activity can be offered at the local level once restrictions allow. Some fees are not recoverable (such as tryout fees where tryouts have taken place, player insurance, etc.) and those fees will not be refunded. Should refunds be provided, they will be distributed to members by the end date of a typical hockey season which is April 30th, 2021.”
With the current PHO set to expire in mid-February – and the thought of team sport potentially not even being included in the new guidelines – Hockey Winnipeg made the ultimate decision to shut down all league play for 2020-21 and begin focusing on 2021-22.
“The Board of Directors and Executive Members of Hockey Winnipeg did not take this decision lightly and it is with heavy hearts and after lengthy discussion that we share this directive,” Hall and McArton wrote. “We would like to thank our members for being patient throughout this trying season and we regret the premature end of the 2020/2021 hockey season. We plan to support our Area Associations as much as possible with locally run programming.”