NPHL officially calls it quits

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

It was inevitable.

For the first time since 1953-54 – a span covering 67 straight years – there will be no North Peace Hockey League this season.

Despite franchises coming and going, teams foraging ahead despite desperate financial measures and lack of players, the NPHL always managed to survive.

But it could not overcome the COVID pandemic.

NPHL president Jack McAvoy called a halt to any plans to start a season Dec. 9 after the Alberta government put in place strict new measures Dec. 8 allowing no hockey until Jan. 12.

“I think that leaves us with no choice but to cancel the 2020-21 season,” said McAvoy.

“I would like to notify Hockey Alberta of this [decision]. Are they any concerns?” McAvoy asked the teams via e-mail.

There were none.

Earlier, the league held two conference calls in October and November to see if teams wanted to proceed. The Dawson Creek Canucks said no citing border travel restrictions and lack of potential revenue due to lack of sponsorship and limited fans in the arena, while the Grande Prairie Athetics cited lack of revenue.

Meanwhile, the Grimshaw Huskies and Manning Comets were proposing a limited January schedule and playoffs, while the Falher Pirates were undecided.

The recent announcement from the government of at least a Jan. 12 start put a stop to any plans to start a limited season.

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