QMAAAHL puts activities on pause

Laval-Montreal and the Lac St. Louis Lions closed out the QMAAAHL run for now with a pair of exhibition games Sunday afternoon at the Fleury Arena. As of Monday, the league is in limbo until September 14.

Saturday afternoon, the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League issued a statement stating that the QMAAAHL would be applying the brakes to preparation and the launch of the season slated for September 11. As the 15 teams fall under sport etudes regulations, the announcement made by Premier François Legault on Friday afternoon concerning the return of sports and arts programs at the scholastic level impacted the league. Selection camps that had been underway since the beginning of August were suspended as of Monday. “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the management of the Midget AAA League has been working jointly with Hockey Quebec,” said league president Yanick Lévesque. “Several working committees have been set up over the past five months in order to properly plan the return to the game. In mid-August, we started the selection camps for our fifteen teams in accordance with phase 5 of Hockey Quebec’s recovery plan and everything has gone very well since. However, as of today, as requested by the Government of Quebec to postpone the start of sports etudes activities to September 14, the League has decided to respect the request of the Premier and to suspend its activities for the next two weeks.” This can of worms came from an earlier situation where a recent directive from Quebec Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge was contrary to the decisions taken in recent months by public health authorities regarding sports and this created a mess for school sports programs. Minister Roberge was unbending when it came to his view that the bubble class rule would set the standard so there would be no school sports as long as that rule was in effect. It would be impossible for students participating in sports or arts programs to remain in a bubble while taking part in their chosen activity. Schools were under the impression that sports would be organized locally and follow the rules set forth by the federation of each sport. That format has allowed civic sports to make a return to training and competitive play. A petition by parents on Change.org gathered over 55,000 signatures from Thursday to Saturday morning and there was a protest by students wanting their sports and arts programs on Friday. There was a positive move when Premiere Legault stated that if things remain stable, sports and arts will return to schools starting as of September 14. While a bright spot for all programs, it did force the QMAAAHL to close up shop for the next two weeks. “It should be remembered that the League’s mandate is to ensure that all of its players, coaches, administrators and volunteers evolve in a healthy and safe environment,” Lévesque said. “This is the reason why we will respect the request of the Premier and if all goes well we will resume our activities on September 14th according to the rules of Hockey Quebec which is currently in phase 5 of the recovery plan.” With the delay, league play could start by mid-October.

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