No junior B hockey in Welland this year
If there is a 2020/21 Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League season, it will be played without the Welland Junior Canadians.
The team announced on social media Wednesday it is taking a leave of absence for the season which is tentatively slated to start Dec. 2, pending government approval.
“The Welland Jr. Canadians have been closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Public health officials continue to advise us that social distancing is the most effective strategy to prevent the spread of the virus. Ensuring the health and safety of our community, players, employees and volunteers is always our first priority. As a result, to do our part and help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, the Jr. Canadians have made the difficult decision for the hockey club to take a leave of absence for the 2020-21 hockey season. The Jr. Canadians wholeheartedly intend to return for the 2021-22 season to continue our storied hockey tradition.
“The Jr. Canadians would like to thank our fans and the Welland community for their support. Throughout the years, our fans have brought an immense amount of energy to each game, which creates a fantastic atmosphere at the King Street Ice Palace. The Jr. Canadians are looking forward to safely welcoming our great fans back to the King Street Ice Palace for the 2021-22 season.
“Until then, stay safe and take care of each other. We’ll be seeing you.”
Yours in hockey,
Louis M. Savona
Welland Jr. Canadians
St. Catharines Falcons coach and Welland native Tyler Bielby was sorry to hear the news.
“For the first time in your lifetime, to see them not ice a team is definitely a reminder of the world we are living in,” Bielby said. “We wish them the best and look forward to seeing them return because they’ve been a big part of our league for many years and a staple in the junior hockey community.”
The Junior Canadians are coming off their worst season in club history after posting a 5-41-1-3 mark. Their .140 winning percentage was last in the 26-team GOJHL.
The Junior Canadians have had four straight losing seasons and haven’t finished above third place since the 1994/95 season.
The club drew an average of 236 fans per home game last season. Five years ago, the club averaged 556 fans per game.
The Buffalo Regals have also taken a leave of absence for the 2020-21 season, leaving the Golden Horseshoe conference with seven teams: St. Catharines, Thorold, Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Pelham, Hamilton and Caledonia.
BPSN and the COVID-19 pandemic
Like all small businesses dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, BPSN is not sure what the business landscape will look like when things return to normal. Our website is financed primarily through advertising revenues and partnership agreements with many local sports and educational organizations in Niagara. Our goal is to continue providing our readers with the extensive local sports coverage you have come to expect from our site. Since our inception, we have written more than 2,900 stories on our local athletes and teams. Many of our readers have given us one-time donations or send us monthly contributions to help offset our costs. We would be eternally grateful if others would consider doing the same by using the Support Us button located on the right-hand side of our home page below the mosaic.
Thank you for your continued support.
Bill and Bernie.