Delta Ice Hawks are eager to get to work on what is shaping up to be their biggest season in franchise history.
The junior “B” hockey club is poised to host the Cyclone Taylor Cup provincial championships in April of 2021.
Team president and owner Eduard Epshtein has been busy over the past several months putting together a successful bid that included working with city officials and other sport user groups to extend the ice in the Ladner Leisure Centre next season into mid-April.
It’s also the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s turn to host the four-team event tha features the champions from the PJHL, Vancouver Island and Kootenay Leagues, along with the hosts. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of this year’s tournament in 100 Mile House that was scheduled to take place April 16-19.
There is a possibility BC Hockey could simply keep the 2021 provincial championships for its various age groups and tiers at the 2020 sites. However, all indications point to the tournament coming to Delta with official word expected in the next few weeks.
“Our league president expects our hosting to be confirmed and in place for 2021,” said Ice Hawks GM and head coach Steve Robinson.
Arenas closure also resulted in the cancellation of the team’s spring prospects camp, slated for this weekend at Tilbury Ice. It has been tentatively re-scheduled for June 25-28.
The Hawks are coming off a disappointing campaign that saw them miss the playoffs for the first time. Robinson is confident the club can rebound and hosting the Cyclone Taylor should be a significant recruiting tool.
“We’re hoping by the end of May we have some return to normalcy. All we can do is play by ear, stay in contact with our players, remind them to practice social distancing and the value of staying in shape within the bounds of your house and outdoors and wait,” continued Robinson.
“Just like the other league I would say it’s business as usual off ice with some off-season trade talk and some advance recruiting to ensure more elite 16-and-17-year-olds know we are a viable option for one season. On paper we look great for next season but there are lots of moving parts and we need this crisis to pass and get things back to normal sooner than later.”