Niagara Juel and Juel Prep ready and waiting
At some point, the Niagara Juel and Juel Prep basketball teams will return to action.
“Pelham Panthers Basketball Association is very excited to announce that our Juel and Juel Prep programs will once again be competing in the Juel leagues in 2021,” Pelham Juel administrator Don Larman said.
Historically Aug. 15 was the opening day of tryouts for Juel but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the league deferred the opening tryout date to Sept. 15.
“My understanding is that there will be another notice coming out Sept. 2 that is going to push back the tryout date to Oct. 15 and as the current health situation develops Juel will update the clubs on the first of every month with respect to the tryouts,” he said.
The league is committed to having every team start on the same date so that there is a level playing field. The universal start date is also tied to the league’s insurance coverage.
“They will not provide clubs and teams with insurance until it is time for the official tryout date.”
And while tryouts are prohibited, there are no restrictions for training. The Niagara Juel program plans to do so in accordance with provincial health and Ontario Basketball guidelines, and the health and safety plan submitted by Pelham basketball.
“It is wait and see and Juel has an excellent plan with different scenarios in place depending on the COVID-19 situation and health guidelines,” Larman said. “Juel is working on protocols to protect the players, coaches, parents and the staff. They are purchasing temperature readers and other things and they will have that whole process in place.”
The season is tentatively scheduled to start Jan. 30 and there are different models for the season depending on if there are further delays.
“The season could even start in March but it would be a shortened season and we would end up having league championships in June,” Larman said.
Pelham was interested in hosting the Juel championships in 2021 but they have been awarded to the University of Guelph, which was supposed to host the 2020 championships.
Niagara is planning to host games this season at the Pelham Community Centre and Pelham basketball has a strong interest in hosting the league championships in 2022 and 2023.
Returning Niagara Juel players and those interested in playing on the teams this season are being urged to sign up for a 10-week training program being run by Pelham basketball. The skills training program will run twice a week and there are still about 60 spots open as of this week. The cost for the program is $250 and if the COVID-19 pandemic causes the program to he halted, players will be refunded $10 for each of the cancelled sessions.
“If players are interested in trying out for Juel and Juel prep, this would be a good stepping stone to come out and start getting your skills back and working on your cardio,” Larman said. “It will be really good for you when it comes time to do our tryouts.”
The training sessions are obviously a big help but they are not mandatory for players interested in trying out for the Juel teams.
“When it comes time for our tryouts everyone comes in on the same level playing field.”
Juel Prep is for players in Grades 8, 9 and 10 and Juel is for players in Grade 11, 12 and 12B. Teams play a 22-game schedule and there are 16 teams in each of the Juel leagues. Any player interested in trying out for the two Niagara Juel squads should send Larman an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Once I receive their email, I will send them a form and it’s for contact information for each player and her family. That is how we will be communicating about our tryouts,” he said.
Frank Keltos will return as the Niagara Juel coach and Sue Sentance will be back as the Juel prep bench boss.