Truro, N.S. – The 2021-22 Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) season will begin Thursday, September 30.
The Board of Governors voted this week to return to a full 52-game balanced schedule for the upcoming season, which includes cross-divisional games between the Eastlink North and Eastlink South.
“With COVID-19 vaccination rates climbing and provincial restrictions lessening, we’re pleased to announce plans for a 52-game season”, says MHL President Steve Dykeman. “The 2020-21 season ended much later than in past years, so pushing the start date to the end of September gives teams more time to prepare. Our Return to Play Plan has proven itself to be effective and we will continue to work with our stakeholders and partners in all three provinces to ensure that we are ready to safely welcome all our fans back to the rink.”
The Summerside Western Capitals were moved to the Eastlink South division last season due to COVID-19 restrictions but will return to the Eastlink North, restoring the balance of six teams per division. Teams will play every other team in their division eight times (four at home and four on the road) and each team in the opposite division twice (once at home and once on the road). The schedule is under development and will be released at a later date.
The Board of Governors also voted to return to the previous format where the top four teams in each division qualify for the Canadian Tire Cup Playoffs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions, every team qualified for the playoffs in the 2020-21 season.
A number of leagues within the CJHL have also chosen to start their season later in the year. As a result, the Centennial Cup will be hosted from May 20th to May 29th, 2022 in Estevan, Saskatchewan. The Fred Page Cup, hosted by the Summerside Western Capitals, has been moved from May 3rd to 8th, 2022 to the revised dates of May 10th to 15th, 2022 to align with the National Junior A Championship.
The MHL’s twelve teams are currently preparing for the 2021 MHL Entry Draft, powered by HockeyTech and Rinknet, which will be held online July 10th. Eastlink Community TV will once again carry the first two rounds of the 2021 event, broadcasting live starting at 10 a.m. on channels 10 and 610 in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.
Hosts Mavs Gillis and Kenzie Lalonde will be joined by guest commentators Logan Delaney and Craig Eagles as they break down the selections from the MHL’s 12 teams. The broadcast will also include interviews with players, coaches, and general managers. Fans can see each selection as they’re made at themhl.ca or through the league’s social media accounts.
The MHL’s Annual General Meeting is scheduled for July 16th and 17th in Moncton, New Brunswick. The Board of Governors and MHL Executive will discuss a number of matters coming out of the completed 2020-21 season, the upcoming 2021-22 season, and how to continue to build and grow the MHL on and off the ice.