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This article was published 10/8/2020 (355 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Hockey season is going to look a little different this year.
The St. James Assiniboia Minor Hockey Association opened early registration for their 2020-21 season in late July. If parents register their kids for hockey before Aug. 21, they will receive $50 off their registration fee.
While the SJAMHA is accepting registration, when players will be able to compete is a different story. The association is waiting until Hockey Manitoba’s Return To Play document is approved by the province.
Scott Lockhart, president of the SJAMHA, said they’ve seen a decent number of signups since registration opened.
"We’ve had a good response so far. We (opened registration) a little earlier this year, typically we do it in the first week of August," Lockhart said. "I think most people are itching to get back to some sort of normalcy, in a safe way. I think everyone is worried about the safety of their kids, which I understand. We will do everything we can to make sure we’re keeping everyone safe."
While the SJAMHA governs itself, the seasonal and competitive play is governed by Hockey Manitoba. Currently, the organization has approved Phase 1 of its Return To Play document, allowing clubs to hold training camps and other activities with no contact.
Hockey Manitoba is seeking approval on Phase 2, which will allow tryouts to begin. Phase 3 will allow the regular season to start, with full contact play and travel. The 2019-20 hockey season came to an abrupt end in March, due to COVID-19. Lockhart is anticipating the season will begin in September, but until the Phase 2 plan is approved, there’s no firm start date.
Until then, Lockhart is trying to keep the spirit of hockey alive in St. James. He said the community around its association has been fantastic.
"A lot of parents were pretty sad when the season ended early. I heard from a lot of people who were upset, they couldn’t see their kids play on the ice. I think there’s a great community around (the SJAMHA), with a great group of volunteers supporting us," Lockhart said. "Without them, there wouldn’t be any hockey. We’re always looking for more volunteers. If you’re interested in getting involved, we could always use more help."
The SJAMHA works hard to advocate for the sport and get more kids playing hockey. The association has been approved for the NHL/NHLPA’s "First Shift" program, which provides equipment and training for lower-income families looking to get on the ice. Lockhart said they also divert profits from running their arenas back into developing younger players, paying for coach training, and equipment, for example.
To register for hockey, visit sjamha.ca
The Metro community journalist
Justin Luschinski is the community journalist for The Metro. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org