On Saturday evening, Manitoba’s top female hockey league announced in a statement posted online that it will no longer look to conclude the 2020-21 regular season and playoffs.
Calling it a ‘difficult decision’, the MFHL was forced to batten down the hatches while trying to wait out the seemingly never-ending COVID-19 storm. Despite its best efforts in a possible resumption, the league ultimately waved the white flag on Saturday evening, just hours after its counterpart – the Manitoba U-18 AAA Hockey League – also called off its 2020-21 season.
With the year now officially in the books, the MFHL saw 22 regular season games played, with the Winnipeg Avros coming out on top with a 7-1-0 record in its eight games. Playing two more games than any other team, the Avros had 14 total points, compared to that of the 4-0-1 second place Yellowhead Chiefs (eight points).
The Avros also boasted the league’s top-two scorers, with Trinity Grove collecting seven goals and 13 points, and Courtenay Bayes earning six goals and 10 points. Fellow Avro Rachel Gottfried led the league with 18 penalty minutes on the season. Yanina Kharyntanovich had four wins in her four starts for Winnipeg, while Westman’s Natalie Williamson owned the league’s best save percentage (.952) and goals against average (1.00).
On Friday, Hockey Manitoba announced its Return to Play Version VI for teams wanting to get in some additional practice time prior to rinks shutting down for the summer. Following direction from the province, this includes all participants wearing a helmet, facial shield, mask and mouthguard at all times. The full structure is listed here.
The following is the letter posted to the MFHL website Saturday evening:
The MFHL U18 AAA continues to support provincial health authority and the guidelines issued by them as we manage through this global pandemic.
However, given the uncertainty within the guidelines around when indoor hockey games in the province would be allowed and the limited time remaining in a traditional hockey season, the League has made the difficult decision to not declare a winning team for the 2020/21 season and therefore cancel the remainder of league play and playoffs for this season.
However we fully support and endorse our teams providing opportunities for their players to engage in much needed physical activity and social interaction, in accordance with the health guidelines, to support their physical and mental well being. If permitted after the current health order expires, the League will work closely with all teams to establish and promote exhibition play during the end of March/month of April period.
We look forward to working with our teams during the course of the remaining spring and to the 2021/22 season and the opportunities it will bring to players in our league.