AJHL resumes play on March 12

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Junior hockey is back.

The Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) announced late Monday afternoon that it will resume the 2020-21 AJHL regular season on Friday, March 12.

The League detailed several team cohort groupings and game schedules for the first four weeks of competition, under the AJHL Return to Play Plan.

A total of 52 games are scheduled to be played on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from March 12 to April 4. The League will then break before changing the cohort groupings and will continue game play in April.

The Spruce Grove Saints will resume play as part of Cohort 4 and will face off against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons for a total of six games (three away and three at home), beginning March 12. The Saints first home game at the Grant Fuhr Arena is set for March 19.

“We are super excited to be back on the ice,” said Rob Sklaruk, general manager for the Spruce Grove Saints. “Our guys have completed their second round of Covid testing, so got approval today (March 3) that we’re able to start practising as a team as of today. We’re going to work towards the March 12 game against Fort McMurray.”


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The following AJHL teams will be grouped together in five separate cohorts from March 12 to April 4.

Cohort 1 – Calgary Canucks, Okotoks Oilers, Brooks Bandits,  Cohort 2 – Drumheller Dragons, Olds Grizzlys, Camrose Kodiaks,  Cohort 3 – Sherwood Park Crusaders, Bonnyville Pontiacs
Cohort 4 – Spruce Grove Saints, Fort McMurray Oil Barons, and Cohort 5 – Drayton Valley Thunder, Whitecourt Wolverines, Grande Prairie Storm

The AJHL completed over 80 games in the opening months of the 2020-21 season before the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a pause.

“We are grateful for the guidance provided by Alberta Health Services and our Chief Medical Officer in developing the protocols required to safely resume the season for our athletes,” said AJHL Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk.  “Thank you to the Government of Alberta for the opportunity to allow our athletes to develop and excel here in Alberta, and to all 15 AJHL teams for the significant dedication to your players and communities across the province.”

In addition, the AJHL has completed the first round of testing in its return to play plan with no positive COVID-19 results among 13 teams and 367 players and staff.  Private PCR testing was provided by DynaLife to all members of the team cohorts after a seven day isolation period and will be administered again this week before teams practice together for the first time.

The AJHL will continue to provide updates on COVID-19 testing results while protecting the privacy of each individual. If a member of the AJHL cohort, players or staff, test positive for Covid-19 at any point in the season, the team will be required to isolate and suspend all in-person team activities for 14 days. Enhanced daily screening for all AJHL players and team staff will be monitored through the SureHire Risk Assessment App.

Teams will need to follow all Covid-19 public health guidelines put in place by the Alberta government to protect themselves and AJHL communities.

Spectators will not be permitted at AJHL games at this time, due to provincial restrictions, however, all games will be broadcast on HockeyTV.



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