When the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League announced today that the 2020-’21 season would not be restarted the decision did not surprise the Yorkton Terriers.
“It’s not a surprise to us at all,” said Terrier Club president Corvyn Neufeld.
Neufeld said the Terrier Board was aware the League was working hard to salvage something in terms of the season.
“They were exploring a bunch of different ways to do something,” he said, adding from a Terrier perspective it had gotten to the point “it did not make sense,” so they are not lamenting the decision.
Neufeld noted there came a point icing a team was going to be somewhat of a challenge had the league restarted.
“A lot of players had moved on. They were going to school, or had got a job,” he said, adding there was also a question regarding the conditioning of players had play resumed. “... Certainly some really wanted to play, but from our board it didn’t make sense.”
Financially, the situation is a bit strange for the Terriers.
“Right now we’re in better shape than when the season started,” said Neufeld, citing grants and program dollars helping to cut into the team’s debt.
But, the season cancellation does impact the finances heading into the fall too. Neufeld said they have season tickets that will need to be credited toward next season, and sponsorships too, which will hurt. Still by addressing some of the team debt “it will allow us to have a descent start next year.”
And the Terriers are planning as if a season will start this fall.
“I would say we’re cautiously optimistic,” said Neufeld, adding most signs seem to be positive.
With that in mind, the Terriers are beginning to put a team together for the fall, starting with trying to get Head Coach and General Manager Mat Hehr inked to a new deal.
“Mat’s going into his option year, and we’ve been talking about a new contract,” said Neufeld.
As details are being hammered out, the team is recruiting players already, he added.