The pause continues
GERRY HALE Gerry Hale is the media coordinator for the Truro Bearcats junior A hockey team.
There’s no doubt about it the MHL return to play date is a moving target. In December, the MHL paused play until Jan 5. The pause was extended to Jan. 16 with play to start on Jan. 20. Last week, public health restrictions were extended to the end of this month, with startup slated for Feb. 2. It’s obvious the MHL is doing its best to cooperate with the restrictions and protocols in place in the three Maritime provinces. It’s also obvious the MHL wants to provide hope that play will resume. Like last year, no stone will be left unturned. So, the target is now set for Groundhog Day. That’s a lot of pressure on Shubenacadie Sam, having to determine when winter ends, when springs begins, and now when hockey begins. In the meantime, the MHL has its work cut out and decisions to be made. The schedule has been reduced from 52 games to 42 games, due to the time remaining, playoffs, and the commitment to be prepared for the Fred Page Cup, to be followed by the national championship. If health restrictions allow for an earlier return to play, the revised schedule would be further revised to accommodate that change. As it stands right now, the earliest date the Bearcats would be back as a team is Jan. 27. Here’s hoping. One thing unchanged in all of this is the Jan. 10 trade deadline. The Bearcats aren’t standing pat. Late last week, the Bearcats acquired 20-year-old defenceman Brant King and the rights to 17-year-old forward Jacob Cook from the Edmundston Blizzard. The Blizzard, in return, acquired the rights to Zach Welsh, a 2019 Bearcat draft pick currently with the Sherbrooke Phoenix. This weekend, the Bearcats traded Dell Welton to the Fredericton Red Wings for the rights to forward Tully Grant and a third-round pick in the June draft. At the time of this writing, the trade deadline was still open. It’s no secret Truro was looking to add a forward to bring the number up to 13. There are no games, but there’s plenty of action.