Maroons begin practising again, lose Wells to Blades

Chatham Maroons head coach and general manager Tyler Roeszler announced Wednesday the team will resume practising three times per week.

Chatham Maroons' Evan Wells (88) is knocked down by LaSalle Vipers' Derek Berdusco (5) and Matt Carvalho (8) in the third period at Chatham Memorial Arena in Chatham, Ont., on Sunday, March 1, 2020. Mark Malone/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network

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The Chatham Maroons are back on the ice.

Head coach and general manager Tyler Roeszler announced Wednesday night the team will resume practising with three workouts per week.

They’d stopped skating in late September because of the “unpredictable and changing COVID environment,” Roeszler said at the time. “Our priority is to keep our players and staff safe.”

The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League is slated to begin its regular season Dec. 2. However, no schedule has been released and no regular games can be played under the current Ontario Hockey Federation restrictions.

The 2019-20 GOJHL season ended in mid-March during the conference semifinals because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Maroons’ season was already over after losing to the LaSalle Vipers in seven games in a Western Conference quarter-final.

The Maroons have 13 players eligible to return: forwards Kyle Fisher, Brett Fisher, Adrian Stubberfield, Lucas Fancy, Cam Symons, Blake Boudreau and Ashton Jones; defencemen Carson Noble, Kyle McCauley, Ryan McKim, Riley Pawluk and Alan Yu; and goalie Bryce Walcarius.

They’ve already committed to four rookies: forwards Anthony Lucarelli, Daniel Fraleigh and Ryan Gagner, and goalie Luka Dobrich.

The GOJHL is under Stage 3B of the OHF return-to-play framework. No body contact is allowed and players must follow social distancing rules on the ice during practices.

Teams can’t play five-on-five games with full contact until the OHF reaches Stage 4.

The GOJHL issued a request last Sunday to have spectators in the coming season. The league wants arenas to have up to 30 per cent capacity as long as physical distancing can be maintained between extended households.

The league also wants assigned seating in arenas. If that isn’t available, then a maximum of 150 spectators would be allowed.

“We’re saying we’ll follow those guidelines to a T,” GOJHL commissioner Mark Tuck said.

The GOJHL return-to-play plans must be approved by local public health units and arena operators, Tuck said. GOJHL teams play in communities covered by at least a dozen public health units.

Two teams – the Welland Jr. Canadians and Buffalo Regals – have already announced they will sit out this season.

 

Blades acquire Wells

Forward Evan Wells has left the Maroons after two seasons to play for the Blenheim Blades.

The 19-year-old from Chatham had 18 goals, eight assists and a team-high 166 penalty minutes last season.

He had 35 points and 209 penalty minutes in 86 career games with the Maroons.

The five-foot-eight, 155-pound Wells has three seasons of junior C eligibility left.

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