The SJHL had barely gotten their abbreviated season off the ground before it was forced to shut down due to the pandemic in late November. This year, they're determined to get a full season in by any possible means, no matter what guidelines they have to work with.
The league announced today they had begun planning for what they hoped would be a full season for 2021-22. It has already started working with its member clubs.
"The SJHL Will continue our efforts to work with the Saskatchewan Government to ensure that appropriate safety protocols needed will be in place for the start of the 2021-22 hockey season," they said.
The hope for the SJHL is that fans will be able to return to games this season as well. Through the first six games in November, fan attendance was capped at 150. Had the league gotten approval for their hub city plan early in March, they would not have been able to allow fans at all.
"The SJHL is optimistic that fans will be able to join us in our arenas," read the release. "However, protocols like mandatory masking and social distancing may still need to be in effect. Remaining vigilant and following public health safety measures will help us get you back in our arenas."
No team in the SJHL played more than six games during the shortened season, while the Flin Flon Bombers, who had to deal with COVID-19 protocols in Manitoba rather than Saskatchewan due to their location, managed just two. An SJHL season is normally 58 games long.
The Estevan Bruins had been slated to host the Centennial Cup in 2021-22, and as of this writing that has not changed. There is no official word from Hockey Canada yet on whether or not the BCHL's recent departure from the CJHL will affect the Centennial Cup in any way.