Thunder hockey season cancelled

The Tillsonburg Thunder’s 2020-21 WOAA senior men’s hockey season has been cancelled.

Tillsonburg Thunder's Mike Rebry goes top shelf to score short-handed against Saugeen Shores. This year's WOAA senior men's hockey season has been cancelled. (Chris Abbott/Tillsonburg News)

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The Tillsonburg Thunder’s 2020-21 WOAA senior men’s hockey season has been cancelled.

“We had to make the decision,” said team president and owner Mike Holly. “It was a sad day to vote for it. I voted (at the Sept. 24 league meeting) to close it down but I didn’t want to. Nobody wanted to.”

Current COVID restrictions at arenas made it impossible for the teams to conduct a normal season.

“You’re only allowed 30 people. … You take four referees and linesmen, timekeeper, scorekeeper, two coaches and you’ve got to have trainers in case something happens. That’s 10 people. That only leaves 10 people on a side. With one goalie, that’s only nine skaters.

Some COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted in January, he said, but league playoffs typically start in February.

“What we really didn’t want was to start back up, play a couple games, have a couple players test positive, and you have to shut it down.”

Last season’s WOAA playoffs ended abruptly in the semifinals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Cancelling this season is not what we wanted to do. We were in the semifinals last season – we’ve got a good team. If we can bring those same guys back, we’ll challenge out there.”

Holly said the Thunder are also considering running hockey clinics for minor hockey players in December or January.

“Again, it depends what restrictions are in place.”

cabbott@postmedia.com

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