COVID restrictions on the number of spectators at games are not going to stop the Slave Lake Icedogs from taking the ice this season. That’s the word from Lauren Barr, the Junior team’s general manager.
Barr plans to be back for a second season and says she recently met with Town of Slave Lake officials to talk about the situation. According to Garry Roth of the town, the situation is that 100 spectators is the most that will be allowed in the front arena for games. They’ll have to sit two metres apart from each other and somehow keep their kids from running around and mingling like they usually do.
On top of that, dressing rooms won’t be opened, which presents a whole suite of other challenges for hockey teams.
But Barr seems upbeat about the prospects.
“We are aware of the limited fans and have decided to only sell 50 season tickets and limit attendance,” she tells The Leader in an email. “Due to having player fees as a part of our budget, we can and will be able to operate this season during COVID.”
In other Icedogs’ news, new coach William von Göttsche has surfaced and contacted The Leader by email. He’ll be joining the team from Sweden, where Barr says he is “highly regarded in the hockey community and has excellent contacts at the Junior and Pro level.
“We are excited to have him lead our program and develop young hockey talent on our team.”
Von Göttsche will not be at the Aug. 22 ‘Identification Camp’ the GMHL is holding at the River Cree Twin Rinks west of Edmonton. Former NHLer Kevin McLelland will be there, having a look at skaters who hope to land a spot on one of the GMHL West Division teams. These are last year’s three (SL, HP and Enoch) plus the new Fox Creek Ice Kings. So will assistant coach Tyson Price, says Barr. She expects von Göttsche to arrive on Sept. 4.