Bearcat Banter: Waiting for the Groundhog

There’s no doubt about it. The MHL return to play date is a moving target.

In December, the MHL paused play until January 5th. The pause was extended to January 16th with play to start on January 20th.

Last week, public health restrictions were extended to the end of this month, with start-up slated for February 2nd.

It’s obvious, the MHL is doing its best to cooperate with the restrictions and protocols in place in the three Maritime provinces.

It’s also obvious, the MHL wants to provide hope that play will resume. Like last year, no stone will be left unturned.

So, the target is now set for Groundhog Day. That’s a lot of pressure on Shubenacadie Sam, having to determine when Winter ends, when Springs begins and, now, when hockey begins.

In the meantime, the MHL has its work cut out and decisions to be made.

The schedule has been reduced from 52 games to 42 games, due to the time remaining, playoffs and the commitment to be prepared for the Fred Page Cup, to be followed by the National Championship.

If health restrictions allow for an earlier return to play, the revised schedule would be further revised to accommodate that change.

As it stands right now, the earliest date the Bearcats would be back as a team is January 27th. Here’s hoping.

One thing unchanged in all of this is the January 10th Trade Deadline. The Bearcats aren’t standing pat.

Late last week, the Bearcats acquired twenty-year-old defenceman Brant King and the rights to seventeen-year-old forward Jacob Cook from the Edmundston Blizzard.

The Blizzard, in return, acquired the rights to Zach Welsh, a 2019 Bearcat draft pick currently with the Sherbrooke Phoenix.

This weekend, the Bearcats traded Dell Welton to the Fredericton Red Wings for the rights to forward, Tully Grant and a third-round pick in the June draft.

At the time of this writing, the Trade Deadline was still open. It’s no secret Truro was looking to add a forward to bring the number up to thirteen.

There are no games, but there’s plenty of action.