The Fernie Ghostriders and Kimberley Dynamiters played at the Fernie Memorial Arena on Friday.

Disappointing end to a cancelled season, but high hopes: Ghostriders coach

Wagner said it was unfortunate the team didn’t have much of a chance to prove themselves on the ice

With the KIJHL season cancelled, the Fernie Ghostriders have had their last training session and cleared out their lockers.

Head coach Jeff Wagner said the news was disappointing, but there were high hopes for the next season.

“(There were) a lot of emotions obviously,” he said.

“We’re upset that we didn’t have an opportunity to have a full season and go after a championship (but) I think we’re humbled by the support we got in the community. Our fan support was still with us and we feel very fortunate to at least have had the opportunity to give it a go and it just didn’t work out.”

The Ghostriders managed to play three games in November 2020 before the public health orders came down on indoor games and gatherings, putting an end to a season that Wagner said was promising.

“We were together for four or five months – the guys came to work every day and made the most of the opportunities given to them.

“We really liked our group. We were a young group eager to learn and get better every day. Unfortunately we didn’t get an opportunity to see what they could do.”

After the KIJHL season was declared cancelled last week, the team decided that heading home to reset for next year was the best thing to do, so they’ll all be heading out in the near future if they haven’t already.

Wagner said it was an unfortunate end of a season for all the players including those would now be going on to other things.

“Our team really feels for (the 20-year-old players) – they envisioned a last season, last games and playoffs, real team camaraderie. Part of the season too is team bonding, and that was cut short too because we didn’t want to push the envelope when it came to the COVID-restrictions. We were confined to practicing on the ice, then returning home.”

The team were obviously well-behaved throughout the pandemic, with no cases and no close-contact scares for the entire season.

“For a group of 25 16 to 20-year olds, to not have any COVID cases among the group when it was starting to get worse was pretty impressive, it just shows what they were doing away from the rink was the right thing … we didn’t have a single scare at all.”

Looking to the 2021-22 season, Wagner said there were high hopes.

“We’re really optimistic for next year, we’re looking forward to providing our program to the players that come back and the new recruits that we get this summer, and looking forward to a season where our fans are allowed in the building hopefully, and a season where we can be more involved in the community.

“We see the Ghostriders as a platform to give back to the community of Fernie that supports us. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do nearly as much community work as we wanted to.”

READ MORE: KIJHL cancels season due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions
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