Thunderbirds weekend games against Blind River postponed

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Three Blind River Beavers players were showing symptoms of COVID earlier this week and, until test results are received, their weekend games against the Soo Thunderbirds have been postponed.

The Soo Thunderbirds expected to open the regular season Saturday night at home.On Friday night, the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League released a statement saying that the Thunderbirds’ opening weekend games against the Blind River Beavers have been postponed.

The postponement comes after three Blind River players showed symptoms related to COVID earlier this week and went into self-isolation.

The players have gone for tests and are awaiting their results.

The league has asked the two teams to start isolating themselves and not to organize team-related activities until the test results are complete.

“We have obligations and responsibilities to all communities, players, officials and all those associated with the league to do the right thing and that is exactly what we have done,” said the commissioner. of NOJHL, Robert Mazzuca, in a statement released Friday night.

“All protocols are rigorously followed and we continue to work closely with Algoma Public Health as we await full COVID test results,” Mazzuca also said.

“In the meantime, we wait, because the health and safety of everyone involved remains paramount above all.”

With the NOJHL twinning teams as cohorts, the Thunderbirds and Beavers were to meet five times until the end of November.

The games have not yet been rescheduled.

The other couples will see the Espanola Express tackle the rapids of the French River; Cochrane Crunch are paired with Hearst Lumberjacks and Timmins Rock with Rayside-Balfour Canadiens.

On Friday night, Kyle Avery scored in the last minute of regulation time and Cooper Bowman won the shootout as French River beat Espanola 6-5 in the league’s opener of the regular season.

With regular season action underway, three teams are currently in limbo while another has taken time off for this season.

Right now, the Kirkland Lake gold miners are not playing as they are working with local health officials to get back on the ice.

Meanwhile, the Powassan Voodoos are not playing due to arena restrictions put in place by the municipality.

The Michigan Soo Eagles are currently playing exhibition games while the Canada-U.S. Border remains closed due to the pandemic.

The Elliot Lake Wildcats announced over the summer that the organization is taking a year off due to COVID-19 and plans to return for the 2021-22 season.

“The NOJHL fully supports each of the communities and their tremendous efforts to deal with this pandemic,” Mazzuca said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

“We are in an ever-changing scenario here and things change on a daily basis,” added Mazzuca.

Protocols for the NOJHL’s regular season action remain consistent with the return-to-play policies of Hockey Canada as well as the Ontario Hockey Federation and Northern Ontario Hockey Association.

Capacity limits in arenas, social distancing protocols, and the ticket sales process are all dictated by the health authorities in each market.

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