Two hockey leagues are getting an assist from the Saskatchewan Government as they work through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province announced three million dollars in funding for the Western Hockey League and one million for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The government says this is to help both the leagues and its teams pull through the pandemic.

Each team in the WHL will receive $600,000 total, while the SHJL’s total for all teams, including the Battlefords North Stars, will be given directly to the league.

“Our junior hockey teams are a critical part of the cultural fabric and local economies across the province,” Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison said. “Necessary restrictions due to COVID-19 have had a significant impact on these leagues and their teams and this support will help them address these financial challenges.”

SJHL President Bill Chow is also applauding the move, saying that the outlook for the community-owned teams has been improved by the government support. WHL President Ron Robison adds that their teams also serve a major economic driver for the towns they’re in, and the funding will allow them to continue providing a world-class development and educational experience for players.

The province adds that they will be working with sports leagues of all stripes across the province to develop safe return to play plans for the near future.