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Westman high school hockey hopes to continue the season


When the Winnipeg High School Hockey League announced last week it was cancelling its season, eyes in rural Manitoba turned to the Westman High School Hockey League (WHSHL).
However, WHSHL co-president and Dauphin Clippers coach Jason Alf said the league hopes to still hit the ice at some point this season.
“Having (a season) and planning to have one are two entirely different things, obviously. Right now, we are not planning to not have one, would be the best way. We’re still waiting like everyone else,” he said.
The provincial government announced on Friday the Code Red response would be extended another two weeks until, Jan. 22, something Alf expected.
“We’re just kind of in a holding pattern,” he said.
When the league shut down in November, players on the eight teams participating in the league this season were told to workout as much as they could on an individual basis.
“And our hope is to have a season of some kind. Whether that happens or not is out of everyone’s control. But I think, optimally, our idea would be to be able to have a couple of weeks of practice and hopefully, get into a season, when and if that was going forward,” Alf added.
“But as everything else, keep adhering to all the rules and keep working out as best they can. If they can find some ice to skate on and work on cardio and things like that while trying to keep their sanity was going to be beneficial.”
A factor in how long the league can wait before shutting down for good is the availability of ice.
“How long is the rec. complex going to stay open, for example. If junior decided to shut down, will the rink still stay open for other people if they can keep going? Do we have the same ability to play into May as Killarney or McCreary or any of the other teams? No one is ready to shut it down yet. It’s the frustrating part for everyone. We don’t want it shut down. But at some point, if we’re told it’s shut down, it’s shut down. But right now we’re in a holding pattern,” Alf said.
If the league does get permission to begin playing again, it will have to determine which teams can still play and for how long, before adjusting the schedule accordingly.
Alf admits he was shocked the Winnipeg loop shut down without waiting until the Jan. 8 deadline. But Winnipeg, he said, was not prepared to play after March anyway, which did not make it as surprising.
“If the rec. complex keeps the ice in until April or May, then we’re prepared to go that long,” Alf said.

Doug Zywina