Another week has passed and the Maritime Junior Hockey League has inched closer to the possibility of opening its 54th season.
Anticipation throughout the twelve-team circuit is increasing while teams are handling things differently in their respective preparations.
In each case, however, the safety of fans and players remains central in their planning.
The Truro Bearcats, with eighteen players in town, are getting ice time at the Colchester Legion Stadium for a combination of structured and unstructured fitness and bonding.
Without a Training Camp, their group has settled in, not necessarily missing the stresses and strains of the tryout process. That can be a good thing.
Gone, though, is the opportunity for the undrafted invite or walk-on, seeking a crack at a roster spot. That’s too bad.
Each year, including among the current Bearcat returnees, some step forward, doing more than enough to stick and making the coaches’ decisions tough ones.
A number of years ago, a 16-year-old came to a Bearcat training camp perhaps to gain the experience, or to push others. He impressed.
As it turned out, he stood on his head to block while others watched him earn a job.
Kirk Rafuse went on to play five years in the MHL, four with the Bearcats, getting his name on the Young – Knickle Goaltending award each Bearcat year.
That’s a great story, and his 63 career Bearcat wins were only surpassed in 2016 by Jacob Fancy.
As the Bearcats prepare, so too, is the RECC. The RECC Operational Plan for the Bearcats Return to Play has been submitted.
The guiding principle is to provide a safe environment while trying to maintain the enjoyment of watching MHL hockey.
In an effort to meet the public health and legal liability, the plan is to have three cohorts of 200, each with its own entry and exit, washrooms and concession area.
A lot of questions will be answered come October 1 — stay tuned.