Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Mother Nature and pandemic slow down start of return to play in SJHL

Dave Leaderhouse

Week one of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s return to play program was relatively smooth from a health perspective, but Mother Nature decided to have something to say about games being played as four of six games last Saturday – and another on Monday – were postponed due to a huge winter storm that blanketed most of the province.

Now the Coronavirus pandemic has reared its ugly head forcing a doubleheader in Flin Flon this weekend between the Bombers and Kindersley Klippers to be postponed with several other future games in the Manitoba centre being rescheduled.

The Manitoba government moved that province to a critical red alert on Thursday forcing a large segment of activities to shut down in an attempt to get control of the increased spread of the virus. The Manitoba Junior Hockey League is now temporarily shuttered and with increased pressure by doctors to have Saskatchewan follow a similar path one has to wonder if it is only a matter of time before the SJHL follows suit.

As it stands there is still a full slate of games on the schedule for this weekend, but the Bombers-Klippers doubleheader that was to be moved to Kindersley to accommodate the Manitoba shutdown has likewise been postponed.

On a positive note, the Melfort Mustangs and Humboldt Broncos will both be looking to expand on their 2-0 starts when they take on the Nipawin Hawks and Estevan Bruins, respectively. The Mustangs captured both ends of a doubleheader against Flin Flon last week with the second half of that match-up being rescheduled to last Tuesday after the storm blast had passed through the province. Humboldt, likewise, completed a sweep of the Yorkton Terriers with an overtime decision when that doubleheader was completed on Tuesday.

Nipawin is also undefeated to start the season, but their sample of work is just an opening-night decision in La Ronge against the Ice Wolves. The Notre Dame Hounds and Kindersley are off to similar starts with the Hounds looking to expand on that success with a doubleheader against Yorkton this weekend. As mentioned, Kindersley is on hold for this weekend after their pair of tilts with Flin Flon has been cancelled.

The defending regular-season champion Battlefords North Stars will look to regroup from an opening-night loss to Kindersley when they head to La Ronge for a pair of contests while the Melville Millionaires and Weyburn Red Wings will complete the weekend’s activities with a pair of games. The Millionaires gained a split in their two games against Estevan last weekend while the Red Wings were edged in overtime by Notre Dame in their lone outing so far this season.

This is definitely a time of uncertainty so more than ever everyone needs to be diligent in helping prevent the spread of the virus. The players, staff and volunteers with each team are doing their part, but the pandemic has no boundaries. It is hoped that disruptions to continued play will be minimal, but this is obviously a situation that has to be constantly monitored. Stay safe everyone so that we can get past this current situation and return to normalcy where there are no fears and hockey can provide the outlet to everyone that it is intended to do.


Weekend Schedule


Kindersley at Flin Flon (postponed)

Estevan at Humboldt

Battlefords at La Ronge

Melfort at Nipawin

Melville at Weyburn



Humboldt at Estevan

Kindersley at Flin Flon (postponed)

Battlefords at La Ronge

Nipawin at Melfort

Weyburn at Melville

Notre Dame at Yorkton



Yorkton at Notre Dame