With the province extending the prohibition of all indoor and outdoor sport for those aged 19 and older until Jan. 8, the Fernie Ghostriders are currently divided, with the younger half of the team still conducting on-ice practices and those over 19 training from home.
“I think what happened is they were trying to get rid of adult sport, and our 19s and 20s got kind of situated in that group of people,” said head coach, Jeff Wagner.
“So the 19s and 20s on our team aren’t allowed to practice with us at the moment, but we are working with ViaSport right now as we feel as it’s an oversight.”
According to Wagner, with the province switching back to Phase Two of ViaSport’s Return to Sport, players still practicing on-ice are focusing on non-contact skill development and skating development, while those training from home are replacing on-ice time with extra cardio training. Players are however sticking to their programs whether they receive on-ice time or not.
“Instead of going on the ice and working up a sweat, you’re going on the bike or you’re doing whatever you can do to fulfill your cardio,” said Wagner.
“It’s tying to get creative and using the resources that we have and doing it within the guidelines that we’ve been given.”
As a result of the regulation extension, the KIJHL has suspended all tournaments and games until the new year.
Currently all games have been postponed, however Wagner is hoping to get back to their scheduled games in the new year, rescheduling anything that has been missed to have as close to a 30-game season as possible.
“That will obviously be dictated by whether or not we start on time –it sounds like our goal as a league is to get back up and running mid-January to late January, and then hopefully extend the season a little bit longer than we planned for originally – but right now we can’t plan for a hypothetical.”
Despite the curve-balls thrown at the KIJHL’s teams, Wagner remains positive, keeping the team together with constant meetings and running their program best they can.
“Right now we’re doing our program as normal with out 18 year olds and younger players, and our 19s and 20s are being good teammates and supporting their teammates,” added Wagner.
“We have a pretty strong group of leaders in our room, and they’re motivated and hopeful that things will get back to normal so they can actually participate with their teammates…they’re doing a good job of staying positive and patient with the process.”
Depending on answers from ViaSport, players may have the option to head home for the holidays a little earlier than planned, hopefully getting back to business on Dec. 27 to preparing for a potential restart to the season in January.
For updates or more information on the KIJHL’s situation, head to the league’s website.