Red Deer Bantam AAA Rebels forward Coy Pighin battles with a Southeast Tigers player Sunday in Game 1 of the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League Division Final in March 2020. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer Bantam AAA Rebels forward Coy Pighin battles with a Southeast Tigers player Sunday in Game 1 of the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League Division Final in March 2020. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Alberta minor hockey 2020-21 season officially cancelled

Alberta Hockey cancels season after restrictions make earliest return to play March 1.

After a tumultuous season of ups and downs from new regulations, due to provincial restrictions on Tuesday Feb. 2, 2021 Hockey Alberta officially announced that they will be cancelling all remaining games for the 2020-21 season.

Hockey Alberta and its leagues including Tiered, AAA, and AA hockey made the decision after the announcement on Friday Jan. 19, 2021 from Premier Jason Kenney about the tiered easing of restrictions made it difficult to predict when their athletes would be allowed to return to competitive play.

The four-step approach to easing COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta is based around hospitalizations and is set to have at least three weeks pass between each step.

Step 1 will begin on Feb. 8, will see restrictions ease in some capacity for gyms and restaurants. It will also allow for children’s sports but only if they are related to school activities; group and team sports will not be permitted.

The earliest hockey could return would be March 1.

READ MORE: Kenney lifts some COVID-19 restrictions, reopens restaurants and gyms Feb. 8

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In a media release on Feb. 2, Hockey Alberta said, “Hockey Alberta is disappointed by the government’s announcement.”

“Our senior leadership team has been involved in ongoing discussions on what a safe and inclusive relaunch plan could look like for our sport. Hockey Alberta will continue working with government and health officials to develop a relaunch plan that allows for hockey activities and keeps our youth active for their physical and mental well-being.”

The announcement to cancel the 20200-21 season affects the following leagues:

• Central Alberta Hockey League (CAHL)

• North East Alberta Hockey League (NEAHL)

• Northern Alberta Interlock (NAI)

• All Peace Hockey League (APHL)

• Rocky Mountain Female Hockey League (RMFHL)

• East Central Alberta Female Hockey League (ECAFHL)

• South Central Alberta Hockey League (SCAHL)

• Northern Alberta Hockey League (NAHL)

• Hockey Calgary

• Edmonton Federation Hockey League (EFHL)

• Rural & Edmonton Minor Hockey League (REMHL)

• Rockies Hockey League (RHL)

• Alberta Elite Hockey League (AEHL)

• Alberta Female Hockey League (AFHL)

Hockey Alberta said that Junior B, Junior C, Female and Senior leagues have set Feb.8 as their target for determining if the season is sustainable for the year.

Hockey Alberta is also exploring options for a possible spring development season if provincial restrictions allow for it.

“Hockey Alberta will be working closely with those organizations that have access to facilities and/or have players interested in playing to ensure that those who are interested in playing can have that opportunity, when our sport is allowed back on the ice.”