Red Wings KO’ed by COVID

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Riding a 50-game winning streak, the High Prairie Red Wings were finally stopped.
However, it wasn’t done by one of the West Division teams in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League.
Two games scheduled for Jan. 15-16 were postponed as the team contended with COVID-19 cases.
“Games were rescheduled due to a few positive COVID cases,” head coach Trent Meyaard says.
“Staff and players both tested positive.”
The club responded immediately to the positive results.
“We cancelled practices and games as soon as we had positive results,” Meyaard says.
Officials with the West Division and the GMHL supported the team’s decision to postpone the Red Wings’ home game Jan. 15 against Enoch Northern Alberta Tomahawks and a road game Jan. 16 in Mackenzie Mountaineers.
No dates to play the games had been set by Jan. 21.
“We erred on the side of caution as we want to finish our full season,” says Meyaard.
“We did the right thing to stop the spread early.”
Most tested positive on Jan. 9-11 and the games were called off on Jan. 11.
The team resumed Jan. 17 with only two players left in isolation.
Everyone was expected to return for games Jan. 21 at home against the Fox Creek Ice Kings and Jan. 23 in Slave Lake against the Icedogs.
Upcoming, the Red Wings are scheduled to visit the Gibbons Pioneers on Jan. 28 and host the Mountaineers on Jan. 29.
The GMHL announced Jan. 3 that the league paused play for teams in the North Division and South Division until Jan. 26 with rising concern for the Omicron variant in Ontario and Quebec.
Those who are not double-vaccinated are required to have a negative test.
Meyaard says the team follows health orders of the GMHL.
West Division teams also benefit from another decision of the league, he says.
“Due to the east divisions shutting down until Jan. 26, the trade deadline was extended to Feb. 3,” Meyaard says.
High Prairie received another three cards to sign players due to COVID-19 relief that would increase the total to 43.
“We have signed 35,” Meyaard says.
A GMHL rule allows teams to have a combination of 14 player born in the years 2000-01.

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