As of next hockey season, the Beardy’s Blackhawks will not be hitting the ice in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.

The Saskatchewan Hockey Association has conducted a review of the male midget AAA/AA hockey structure in the province. Teams had to reapply for midget AAA/AA status and were judged on criteria laid out by the Saskatchewan Hockey Association.

When the dust settled, the Beardy’s Blackhawks and Notre Dame Argos were cut from the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League, while Estevan and Warman were awarded franchises.

“We took applications as of October 1st, we laid out some criteria that minor hockey associations could apply,” said Kelly McClintock, who serves as the general manager of the Saskatchewan Hockey Association. “We got applications for 14 teams in (midget) AAA and 29 for (midget) AA. We evaluated those based on our criteria and we had some really good bids. Unfortunately, two teams that are currently in the league weren’t successful.”

The Beardy’s Blackhawks Minor Hockey Association said it and its member clubs are saddened by the news, calling it a “short-sighted decision.”

“Our AAA Blackhawks are the only AAA midget team in all of Canada to be located on and operated by a First Nation — the only one,” said Blackhawks Minor Hockey Association President Jason Seesequasis in a statement.

“In this era of reconciliation, this team should be a point of pride and a flagship franchise for a sport’s governing body like the SHA. Instead, they take a one-of-a-kind team and with the stroke of a pen, they kill it. This is 2019. How does such a decision make any sense? I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but it is upsetting.”

As a result of the restructuring, Beardy’s also loses its midget AA program.

The Beardy’s Blackhawks Minor Hockey Association says it will now take time to consult with its member clubs, legal counsel and other stakeholders to figure out what its next step will be.

(PHOTO: A game last season between the Beardy’s Blackhawks and Saskatoon Contacts. File photo.)