The longest unguarded border in the world will remain closed until August 21, 2020 or perhaps longer.
Today’s official announcement by the U.S. and Canadian governments only added to the uncertainty confronting the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and all eighteen of its franchises.
Obviously, the health and safety of everyone involved far exceeds the game of hockey.
With October 1st being the tentative start date for the 2020-2021 season, QMJHL teams will no doubt be searching for answers with regards to the possibility of US born players reporting for training camp and being on rosters.
With so much uncertainty right now, teams are definitely looking at all possible scenarios involving players from outside the country.
One QMJHL team GM had this to say when asked if US players would be deemed “essential travellers”?
“Not sure yet.”
Everyone is in a holding pattern.
It remains to be seen if border uncertainty causes some players and their families to change their intended path in the game especially with the extension into August.
One would assume decisions will definitely have to made by the first part of August with regards to players taking the school route.
Some US College players may decide to stay home and play in the Q, rather than pursuing their collegiate careers.
We have already seen some highly touted prospects agree to sign and report to QMJHL teams.
Anything is possible given all the uncertainty.
With cases of COVID-19 skyrocketing in some parts of the United States it’s highly unlikely that a decision will be made that Junior hockey players would be “deemed essential travellers”, but you never know.
Can you imagine some people’s reaction to that announcement.
For now we all wait, but let’s hope every young aspiring hockey player and their families have the opportunity to pursue their chosen path in the game safely.
We all have to remain patient, cautious and do all things necessary to keep each other safe and healthy.
Speaking of safe and healthy, one could also assume that by October 1, 2020 if the season were to start that mandatory testing for players, coaches, team personnel and officials would have to be done by weekly basis.
Another great idea first suggested by Moncton Wildcast Co-Host Jeremy Boucher would be very important to consider.
Would the QMJHL consider a Maritime and Quebec bubble with regional games being played until January, before teams would cross over? Definitely something to think about and consider perhaps if travel restrictions are still in place.
The CHL model requires fans in the stands for it to be successful.
Some venues could run at thirty percent capacity to ensure proper social/physical distance protocols are enforced and upheld.
One could also see mandatory masks for all patrons, arena staff and media.
For now the U.S Canada border remains closed, as the speculation builds.
We all want normalcy, we all want to see the game return, but the health, safety and well-being of everyone should be our top priority.