Patience and understanding will be key for fans and supporters of the Richardson Pioneer Weyburn Red Wings. The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has approved that all teams could start play effective immediately, with some guidelines that were released in the media release on October 16.
SJHL teams are scheduling exhibition games to be played before November 1. This includes the Weyburn Red Wings, who will have a five-game exhibition series with their Highway 39 rivals, the Estevan Bruins.
The Red Wings will host the first game of this exhibition series on Friday, October 23 at Crescent Point Place, with a puck drop at 7:30 p.m. The second home exhibition game between the Wings and Bruins will be Friday, October 30.
“We will only allow a maximum of 150 fans to our exhibition games,” said Brett Stephanson, president of the Weyburn Red Wings hockey club. “We have already reached out to season ticket holders.”
The exhibition games allow the Red Wings hockey club and other SJHL teams to get all their Public Health guidelines in place, and the limit of numbers allowed might be extended once the regular season starts. But this will only happen after the SJHL receives permission to increase numbers from the Saskatchewan Health Authority. No regular season schedule has been announced yet.
Fans will be required to wear masks while in the stands, at all times. Stephanson noted that because of guidelines set out by Saskatchewan Public Health, that social distancing regulations will include access the rink.
The Red Wings have worked out a system where season ticket holders, depending on where they are sitting, will only use certain doors that enter the rink. He also noted that seating would look different this year, as every other row has to be empty.
“Because we have to stick to those numbers, there are some season ticket holders who might not get into both games. But we are going to make sure that one of the two games is available to be watched in person for our season ticket holders,” said Stephanson.
He did note that if sponsors or stakeholders have ownership of a private box at Crescent Point Place, that the numbers of people in the private box do not count towards the limit for fans in the stands. It is one more way to view the game, while abiding to social distancing regulations.
“Fans will have to be patient while we work out all the logistics, but we want to ensure that we are following all the guidelines of Public Health protocols,” added Stephanson.