LHJAAAQ cancels 2020-21 season

MONTREAL, Que. A letter from LHJAAAQ commissioner Kevin Figsby.

Back on March 12, 2020, I was informed by Hockey Canada that due to the onset of COVID-19, all hockey across the country would be put on pause.

Subsequently, we would then be informed that the world was experiencing a worldwide pandemic and that our daily lives would be affected by change.

Now, one year later, we have experienced the casualties and consequences of this deadly virus. On behalf of la Ligue de Hockey Junior AAA du Quebec, and of our owners, players, team staff, volunteers, and officials, we wanted to offer our deepest condolences to those families who have suffered the loss of family members and friends. We also wish to offer our sincerest gratitude to all of our frontline health care workers, our first responders, and those responsible for the care and safety of our fellow Quebecers.

As we moved from the shutdown of hockey in March 2020 to the possibility of an eventual return to the ice, our priority and concern was always the health and safety of our players, team staff, owners, volunteers, officials, fans, and sponsors.

With these people in mind, we had developed numerous plans for multiple attempts at a return to the ice. With every announcement and change to public health and safety protocols and the Hockey Québec return to play strategy, we have adapted and relaunched new and comprehensive plans for a safe return to the ice.

Each return to the ice has resulted in ZERO cases of COVID-19 reported among players and staff.

Throughout the past year and with respect to our players, our coaches and team staff have engaged our players in online seminars and connectivity when team gatherings were prohibited. As a league, we have engaged the services of the Canadian Mental Health Association to provide confidential assistance to our players and teams.

In February, we had developed what we felt would be an opportunity to return to the ice and provide a calendar of activities to begin in March. The plan included off-ice training, on-ice development, and the potential for a return to a modified exhibition schedule. For this to be implemented, all league teams would need to be in zones designated Orange or better.

With the recent announcement by the Minister of Public Health and with increasing COVID-19 cases and continued restrictions, we no longer feel there is an opportunity to create new plans that would allow for the participation of all teams moving forward. Arenas are now closing, summer is approaching and our season calendar has now come to completion. AS OF TODAY, THE LHJAAAQ HAS DECIDED TO BRING SEASON TO AN END.

We will continue to work with our teams to search for opportunities to provide exposure and further opportunities for our graduating players, who will move on to university hockey and professional hockey opportunities in North America and Europe.

The LHJAAAQ wishes to thank and congratulate all of our graduating players for their dedication and commitment throughout their time in our League.

We would also like to thank Hockey Quebec, Public Health, our franchise owners for their dedication and commitment to the development of our players in the LHJAAAQ. Thank you for your investment in the communities you represent and for your unwavering support throughout this past year in attempting to explore and exhaust every opportunity to let the kids play.

To all of our players, staff, volunteers, league staff, officials, fans, sponsors and friends, we thank you, and look forward to welcoming everyone back for the planned start of the 2021-2022 season. We will be back with renewed passion and revitalized energy on and off the ice in each of our communities.

Stay safe!

Thank you,

Kevin Figsby
Ligue de Hockey Junior AAA du Quebec