Bearcat Banter: Fingers Crossed

Covid restrictions put in place in December were extended to the end of January.

This being the last full week of the month, Nova Scotians await announcements expected in a matter of days.

While the Maritime Hockey League has been paused since the middle of December, the teams are anxious to return to play.

Plans are fully underway to open on February 2nd if public health restrictions allow. Players are making their way to the twelve franchises.

The Bearcats were expected back in town Sunday. The first practice since the weeks before Christmas was set for Monday.

Because of the gathering limits of ten participants, the initial practice was a two-part exercise. High School aged players hit the ice a 7:00 a.m.

That group was off the ice at 8:00 a.m., then on went the post-secondary players.

Clearly not the best scenario, but it’s the best that can happen, leaving all concerned with the wish for some good news.

Teams are looking for an abbreviated season with deep playoff runs, something that’s been missing for the last two years.

The Trade deadline suggested that many of the teams are looking beyond payoffs for the opportunity to participate in the Fred Page Cup, to be hosted by Summerside, May 10th – May 15th.

The winning team from the Central Canada Hockey League (ON), the Quebec Junior League and the MHL, along with the Capitals will battle for a spot in the National Centennial Cup.

Pauses and startup dates for these three Leagues are very similar. None has an advantage, so it seems.

The other Regional Qualifiers are running at the same time; however, teams west of Ontario have been playing with fewer restrictions.

The Dudley-Hewitt cup will go to the winner from the Ontario Junior League, the Northern Ontario League and the Superior International League.

The Anavet Cup will declare a winner from Manitoba and Saskatchewan League.

The Doyle Cup goes to the winner of the Alberta Junior League. The British Columbia Junior League left the CJHL in 2020.

These four Regional Winners will meet in Estevan, May 21-29 for the National Championship hosted by the hometown Bruins.

That’s the plan.