Minor hockey games in Calgary return with cautious optimism
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They opened with that approach for the AEHL’s first night of hockey, as its U15 AAA class — formerly the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League — took to the rink Wednesday night for a game between the Calgary Northwest Flames and the host Calgary Northstars Sabres at Don Hartman North East Sportsplex.
Next up is the trio of U18 tilts Thursday at Pason Green Arena (Lethbridge Hurricanes vs. Okotoks Bow Mark Oilers, 6:30 p.m.), Max Bell Centre (Calgary Buffaloes vs. Calgary Northstars, 7:15 p.m.) and Stu Peppard Arena (Calgary Flames vs. Calgary Royals, 7:15 p.m.).
“We’ve taken caution — we’ve taken care,” said Robertson, adding his office is working closely with Hockey Alberta and Alberta Health Services to ensure a healthy environment. “Everybody has player safety and volunteer safety first at hand. And that’s the most important thing — we’re doing this to get started, but we’re doing this in the right way.”
On Saturday, the AEHL’s U16 AAA level — formerly the Alberta Minor Midget Hockey League — opens play.
And that will be followed by Hockey Calgary’s AA leagues striding into action Oct. 20.
Just as is the case for the U18, U16 and U15 AAAs, Calgary’s AA clubs will operate in three-week cycles.
“They’re not operating in a traditional sense,” said Hockey Calgary executive director Kevin Kobelka. “So how it’s working — and this is where we get into the whole cohort model — is each team has a partner team and you play that team three times in a one-week period. Then you get a two-week development period, where you isolate with just your own team. And after that, you get a new partner team and you play another three games against that team and then you go back into a two-week isolation period. And then you move on to the next series …”