While the NHL and NHLPA are continuing to negotiate a return to play format regarding the 2020-21 campaign, and it seems they’re now targeting a Jan. 13 start date, the Winnipeg Jets have just received some encouraging news as to where they’ll be able to hold their training camp this winter.
With COVID-19 cases rising at alarming rates in Manitoba, the provincial government announced on Tuesday that restrictions on indoor gatherings would be extended into the new year, although that won’t affect the Jets’ skaters from preparing for the upcoming season. In speaking to the media, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin and Premier Brian Pallister explained how the club will be able to operate if they return to action next month.
The new public health orders have this for the #NHLJets:
• permitting the Winnipeg Jets to train in Manitoba in preparation for an eventual NHL decision on a 2021 playing season.
— Scott Billeck (@ScottBilleck) December 8, 2020
Though government officials will allow the Jets to hold practices and workouts at Bell MTS Place in the near future, everyone involved will still be subject to self-isolation when they’re away from the arena and they’ll also need to quarantine for 14-days after entering the country. If any individual fails to adhere to these policies, they could face significant penalties from not only the organization but also from the province as well.
Considering the NHL was able to successfully return to action back in the summer, the league’s prior success and their ability to test players regularly certainly played a huge factor in the government’s decision. Since there’ll also likely be a Canadian division this season, it seems that aspect could help improve the club’s chances of hosting regular season games in the “true north” in 2021.
But based on this recent development, it seems Winnipeg shouldn’t have any issues playing at home throughout the 2020-21 campaign as long as they follow these crucial health and safety guidelines. That being said, it’s still unclear as to when fans will be able to attend games in 2021, as the availability of the vaccine to the general public will probably play a major role in determining when it’ll be safe to do so.
Whenever hockey returns this winter, the Jets will be looking to improve off their brief playoff run from last season, which was derailed due to several injuries to key players. Even though things might look a little differently this season, it’ll still be a great moment when players return to the ice for the first time since August.