Hawks coach defends tweet about restrictions, concerned about double standard

NIPAWIN — Doug Johnson, head coach and general manager of the Nipawin Hawks, said he doesn’t regret a recent tweet he made on the team's account where he stated he would be taking the players to the “bar and casinos” since they remain open while the hockey season is cancelled.

The Nov. 26 post was shortly followed by another, an hour later, clarifying that the Tweet was sarcastic and they “obviously aren’t” taking their players to bars or casinos.

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The age of players in Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) teams range from 16 to 20 years old.

“Myself, I don’t regret it. It’s getting a lot of publicity,” Johnson said in an interview with the East Central Recorder.

“With COVID, if we’re shut down that’s fine. I get it, I’m not going to question being shut down – but how come some things are shut down and other things aren’t?”

He explained the first tweet was written by him and posted by someone else on his behalf, after the news broke about SJHL games being cancelled until after Christmas.

Johnson said he feels the message laid out in the Tweet is self-explanatory, with bars and casinos allowed to continue to operate under provincial regulations while the hockey season is not.

“I don’t understand the reasoning behind that,” he said.

“We had 27 kids that were absolutely devastated yesterday, and that’s just with Nipawin. I’m sure every player is devastated and nobody wants to go home, they want to continue playing.”

Johnson said that when the restrictions were laid out the provincial government discussed the importance of mental health, which he believes the current regulations don’t align with.

“A bar or casino doesn’t really help anybody’s mental health, but it’s been proven sports, getting out and being active, doing something you love and care about –  that’s probably the best thing you can do for mental health.”

Overall, Johnson said feedback from the Tweets has been positive.

“It has been good,” he said. “Obviously some people are going to [complain], because some people always [complain] – but for the most part people around town are understanding and get where we’re coming from.”

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