NWJHL season update

As decisions continue to be made about the 2020-21 NWJHL season, it's clear a season won't start around the beginning of October like usual. However, the league and each of its teams remain committed to having a season, and a timeline for what one could like is beginning to take shape. 

Hockey Alberta updated its Return to Hockey plan last week, giving NWJHL teams and fans an idea of what to expect for the next couple months. The Fort St. John Huskies are holding their training camp from September 12 to 13 at the Pomeroy Sport Centre. The Dawson Creek Junior Canucks don't have a date announced yet but are expected to have a date following a team meeting next week.

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Hockey Alberta is asking Junior B teams to have a 25-man roster selected by September 20, if possible, although the North Peace NAvigators and Fairview Flyers are holding their camp October 2 to 4. From there, teams can begin regular practice and training until October 4, with exhibition games taking place from October 5 to October 25.

The updated Hockey Alberta timeline has Junior B teams next moving on to pod play, from October 26 to December 6. It's unclear exactly how pod play, which Hockey Alberta is also calling a modified competition season, will look like, but is planning to group teams into regional pods of three to five teams, allowing teams to compete only against teams in their pod and to minimize travel, until the regular season can officially begin. 

It remains to be seen if pod play will factor into the regular season standings, and when a regular season could begin. 

Another wrinkle is the Huskies and Canucks being teams in B.C. Although the NWJHL is a Hockey Alberta league, the two clubs have to first abide by B.C. Hockey timelines and regulations. The Huskies and Canucks could face a different timetable if the B.C. Hockey return plan contradicts those of Hockey Alberta, which remains to be seen.

Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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