The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League was forced to pause its season last week following further COVID-19 restrictions announced by the provincial government.

SJHL President Bill Chow spoke Monday during the league’s Facebook program SJHL @ Noon.

“Those discussions as to when we’re going to return or possibly return will start here this week — as to what that could look like or would look like,” said Chow.

“As for the numbers (for attendance), if the numbers are reduced or the request from the government is a reduction of that 150 (fans per game), then that would be a decision that the governors would have to make as to whether they would want to open up the second half of the season with less than 150. At 150, the teams are bleeding money, for a lack of a better term. To go below that, it will just only make things worse. At the end of the day, that’s a decision that we will collectively make together.”

Last week, the Saskatchewan Health Authority released a list of the top 10 places for community transmission of COVID-19 in the province.

Recreation/recreational facilities topped the list at 25 per cent of community transmissions. The top offending group includes things like ice rinks, bowling alleys, casinos and bingos.

“It’s unfair to be lumped in with those other – what are deemed to be recreational activities in somebody’s mind,” said Chow. “How we ended up into that group? I’m not sure or how it was justified. I can only go back to the point that when you take a look at the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, we’ve had two cases to date. One case was prior to training camp and one case was related to an off-ice situation. I think our record is pretty good and that’s what I think we have to remind – not only government — but health of.”

MBC Radio reached out to the Saskatchewan Health Authority last week for a further breakdown of the numbers for the recreation/recreational facilities group.

“We will see what level of breakdown is available,” said the Saskatchewan Health Authority in an email.

Many people were quick to criticize the Saskatchewan Health Authority on social media for putting hockey rinks in the same category as bingos and casinos.

Meantime, the 2020 SJHL playoffs were cut short due to COVID-19 back in March.

(PHOTO: La Ronge’s Liam McGarva makes a save against the Nipawin Hawks this season. Photo courtesy of Brandon White.)