The Flin Flon Bombers will not hit the ice again until 2021.
The SJHL announced Nov. 23 that the team would suspend operations until after the New Year after being unable to reach an agreement to continue play.
The Bombers have not played a game since their home opener Nov. 10, two days before Manitoba entered “red” restrictions under the provincial government’s pandemic response system.
The restrictions included shutting down all public recreation facilities and non-essential retail, causing the Whitney Forum and the team’s office to shut down during the restrictions. Since then, the Bombers have postponed all games they were originally scheduled to play, missing four consecutive games while waiitng for word on whether the club could play or not.
Team officials tried to create a makeshift bubble in Saskatchewan, allowing the team to practice in the Creighton Sportex while playing all their games on the road until the Forum was available for play. The team planned to temporarily move all players to Saskatchewan-based billets and submitted a plan to the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
“The SJHL and the Bombers have been having discussions with health authorities in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan, along with representatives of the Saskatchewan government since Manitoba was deemed a “red zone” due to the increasing numbers of COVID-19.,” reads a statement from the SJHL released on Twitter Nov. 23.
“These discussions included finding alternatives for the Bombers to practise and play. A solution to date has been unable to be found due to the daily increases of COVID-19. The Bombers have exhausted all avenues in the process while keeping the health of their players and communities in mind. With that, the Flin Flon Bombers have decided to pause their season and resume play after the Christmas break.”
In temporarily suspending operations, the Bombers will see 10 more games postponed. The team’s next scheduled game would be held New Years’ Day at home against La Ronge, subject to change due to provincial COVID-19 restrictions.
Manitoba will remain under the current round of “red” restrictions until Dec. 10.