On November 25, the AJHL announced they would be putting a pause on the season which meant the Lloydminster Bobcats had to pack their bags temporarily.
Due to the provincial COVID-19 measures, the league has halted the season and its Board of Governors will determine a new timeline for return-to-play on December 19. Bobcats head coach and general manager Nigel Dube says it was a surreal feeling for the team having to empty out their dressing rooms on Thursday.
“It’s hard news to receive especially when you have 25 young adults that are excited to play hockey. At the same time, it’s our responsibility to do what’s right for not only sports, but the world around us and make sure we can help in getting things back sooner than later.”
Dube advised players to stay in shape and practice what they can as they are unable to hold team practices. Players have been sent home to their families with the expectation that they will be returning to play after Christmas.
He says the team knew this would be a possibility, but that didn’t affect their play during the start of the season.
“We talked about it from day one about the idea of living everyday to the fullest and that’s what our guys we’re doing. In the back of the mind, you realized this was a possibility, but we didn’t want that to be the focal point. We wanted our guys to come in everyday with the right mindset, put the work in and enjoy it everyday.”
Dube adds they are optimistic for a finish to the season and the players will be excited to see each other again. Like many businesses, he says they are doing what they can to get by and survive the pandemic.
“We feel terrible for a lot of our sponsors and community partners that are going through a tough time with the economy and whether they can be open or not. Without fans in the stands to start the season, you see the impact there too as well. On the business side, it’s been making sure we can come out of it at the end of it.”
The Bobcats lost both of their regular season games and had a record of 2-6 in the pre-season. One pre-season game was cancelled due to weather.