Late last month, the league, which includes the Vankleek Hill Cougars and the Saint-Isidore Eagles, confirmed that there would not be a regular season in any form. In a statement, the NCJHL said the best-case scenario under the post-lockdown restrictions was a modified scrimmage against a single partner team for the remainder of the season.
“With the uncertainty of this continuing until the end of March in case there is another shutdown, the high cost to operate such a bubble and the safety concerns for players and coaches, it was felt that this was the proper way to go,” the statement read. “Some teams may continue to hold weekly try out get togethers within their own group.”
The Cougars have spent the non-season running conditioning camps when arenas were open. The club divided players into “black” and “white” teams, and encouraged fans to guess who would win with some prizes available. The next conditioning camp was due to be held on Thursday.
Last month, Champlain council approved the extension of ice time at the Vankleek Hill arena by two weeks. While the ice would usually be removed at the end of March, the council extended the period to April 18 in order to allow skaters to spend more time practising after arenas were unable to open during the lockdown between December 26 and mid-February.