By Darryl G. Smart
With the Provincial Junior Hockey League schedule for the 2021-22 season dropping today, one local team was not on it.
The Delhi Travellers have requested and were granted a one-year leave of absence from the Ontario Hockey Association.
“We couldn’t come up with the money,” a member of the executive said.
It’s a similar situation the team was in last year, when they were granted a one-year leave of absence. The team and community are still trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Compound that with the reality of trying to find ice time because ice request forms were just distributed a couple of weeks ago.
“You have to have your ducks in a row by the spring,” the executive member said. “I’m not pinning it on the county. Times are tough.”
Delhi’s junior hockey club had to work hard for the second-consecutive leave, because it is something the OHA doesn’t usually allow. But because of the pandemic, the OHA has granted the request.
Now the team will have a year to figure out how to fund the team going forward.
The Port Dover Sailors began its training camp in Caledonia, and continue to gear up for their PJHL Bloomfield Division season. The Sailors start on October 2 on the road against Highway 6 rivals Hagersville Hawks at 7:30pm. They return home the next day at 2pm to take on the Dunnville Mudcats.
The Mudcats open their season at home on October 1 against the Dundas Blues at 7:30pm.
The Norwich Merchants open their PJHL Doherty Division season on October 1 at home against the Woodstock Navy Vets at 8pm. The next day they hit the road to play the Wellesley Apple Jacks at 7:30pm.
The Burford Bulldogs also have a busy first weekend, playing the Apple Jacks on October 1 on the road, before returning home October 2 to host the Hespeler Shamrocks, who have moved over from the Bloomfield Division. The home opener begins at 7:20pm
The PJHL, along with the Ontario Junior Hockey League, Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, and Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League will require all its members to be double-vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the commencement of team activities associated with the beginning of the 2021-2022 season.
The policy applies to all players, coaches, trainers, team and league staff, officials, volunteers and billet families.
The policy is fully intended to protect the health and safety of all OJHL, PJHL GOJHL, and NOJHL players and members and to protect against the potential transmission of the virus.
All four leagues will comply with the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) (or applicable State and US Federal legislation) and offer support to any league member who is unable to be vaccinated for substantiated medical reasons and/or on grounds protected under the OHRC. The leagues will collectively work together with independent medical and legal advisors appointed by the league Commissioners to assist with all issues.