Good morning fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, lesser hockey clubs and people who once typed “pension” into google and now have our website coming up in your newsfeed unsolicited.
The Leafs had last night off and won’t play tonight either. That gives us a gap in our news cycle, this being a Maple Leafs website and all. However, the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels gave us something to ponder:
The Canadian Hockey League members (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) have struggled to play full seasons due to COVID-19 - the Quebec league is the only one that started in the fall, but has had to take several breaks and bubble teams for periods of time - and the WHL is coming close to opening shop with regional bubbles. The Ontario league has yet to confirm any plans to play.
Without lucrative TV deals and major advertisers, the junior hockey teams aren’t don’t have the kind of financial backing to rent out hotels for their players to quarantine in, so they’re getting creative.
Since no fans will be allowed to attend games this season, the team got approval from the City of Red Deer and Westerner Park to allow the players to live in the rink. It was thanks to all those parties that they are able to have the players settling into arena living.
The plan also involved getting the suite owners’ support, as well as the players and their parents.
Team officials have set up basketball nets, spikeball and ping pong tables on the concourse to keep the players entertained. The suites will also be equipped with wifi.
Living in the arena will keep the players from interacting with anyone outside their team - no billet families to live with, no travel to and from the games - and at this point in their careers they basically live in the rink anyway.
The WHL “season” begins on February 26th.
The OHL rumour mill is working hard trying to figure out their plans:
Sources: The OHL sent a memo to teams today with plans for restart:— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) February 10, 2021
- 24-game season
- Four hub cities
- March quarantines at home before arriving in host city
- April 2-4 weekend target for start to season
- Government mandated quarantines for imports
*Subject to gov. approval
So far the two hub cities that have leaked are Kingston and Niagara - the latter being an interesting choice considering the state of COVID cases in the region.
In NHL news, the league agrees with me on record keeping, which means I'm correct and Jets* fans are wrong:
Paul Stastny opened the scoring at 0:08 of the second period, one second shy of the fastest goal from the start of any period by a @NHLJets / Thrashers player. #NHLStats https://t.co/5Uh4Q4yQjC pic.twitter.com/xDn0n1UtJf— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 12, 2021
The Montreal Canadiens were 3-0 shutout by the Edmonton Oilers last night, with assistance by their captain:
The Edmonton Oilers lost Jesse Puljujarvi from last night’s game as he entered COVID protocol. From CTV Edmonton:
Being on the COVID-19 protocol list does not necessarily mean a player has contracted the coronavirus. Other reasons players can be placed on the list can include mandated isolation for symptomatic individuals, required quarantine as a close contact of a person who has tested positive, an inconclusive test and forced quarantine as per travel restrictions.
The Maple Leafs play the Canadiens on Saturday, so we’ll see where this leads.
Let’s end this on a brighter note. It’s Friday, Monday is a holiday for Leafs fans in Ontario (most of them, I hope you all enjoy your Family Day buffets while I'm out in the cold), so here’s Carey Price being Carey Price: