If player interest found, leagues will be formed
MANITOULIN – While a deadline of September 18 has been set for all local minor hockey associations to indicate if they are going to try and field enough players and teams to have a 2020-2021 Manitoulin Minor Hockey Association (MMHA) season in place, it appears that all associations except for Wiikwemkoong Minor Hockey Association will be joining the league.
Nick Lane, president of the Western Manitoulin Minor Hockey Association (WMHA), told the Recorder last week, “as far as our association, we are planning to have hockey this year. It will probably be a non-traditional set up (due to the pandemic) and we will have to follow the guidelines required of the MMHA. He noted the MMHA “is governed by the NOHA (Northern Ontario Hockey Association) and they will outline what we need to do.”
“At this point we don’t know what everything will look like,” acknowledged Mr. Lane. “The first thing all associations are doing is taking registration of players to gauge what interest there is, and get a commitment if there is enough interest and the number of players we will have.” Registration is open for the WMHA until September 16.
“At this point our association is planning to participate in the league this year,” said Mr. Lane. “I don’t see us not going forward.”
Allan Davy, former vice-president of the Mindemoya Minor Hockey Association said, “our association has put out a registration form for players who are interested in playing this season to fill out.” He pointed out one of the new twists of the non-traditional hockey that will be played is that there will probably be a three-on-three format, different than the normal six players (including a goalie) on the ice for each team at one time on the ice.
“It’s looking good as far as our association,” Mr. Davy said. “There are no guarantees and we will have to see what kind of numbers we get for registration, but we are certainly trying and are hopeful.”
Jackie White, secretary for the MMHA, told the Recorder, “Manitowaning will be doing minor hockey; we are doing what the MMHA wants us to do with all associations carrying out a registration for players.” She pointed out all local hockey associations, including M’Chigeeng First Nation and Little Current-Howland Minor Hockey Association are going ahead as well. “All associations (except for Wiikwemkoong Minor Hockey Association) have indicated they are going ahead and participating. But we need the kids to be registered as soon as possible.”
“Then on September 18 we will have all the (registration) numbers,” said Ms. White. “Once our association has the numbers of how many have registered, the NOHA will come in and assist in putting together leagues. We let our municipality (Assiginack) know we are looking at having hockey this year.”
While the Recorder was unable to contact a representative of the Manitoulin Panthers Hockey Association for a response, their website does indicate they are looking at a modified program this year, including an under 11, 13, 15 and possibly an under 18 program if interest is there. “We look forward to seeing all members join us back on the ice for another season with the Manitoulin Panthers.”