Hockey tournaments, championships cancelled across U.S. and state
Sticks will stand idle all over Michigan until next season after all Youth events were cancelled Thursday due to the coronavirus.
Usually over the next month or so, ice arenas all over the United States would be bustling with activity – particularly on weekends – as Youth hockey teams of all ages compete for various state and national titles.
Not this year.
USA Hockey and its affiliate, the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association, as well as the Michigan High School Athletic Association, have cancelled all remaining championships, tournaments and games because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Those groups are joined by the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League, which has postponed all events, including the remainder of its playoffs, and the Michigan Amateur Youth Hockey League, which has cancelled the rest of its playoffs
“Safety of our participants has always been our top priority,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey, in a statement. “And, with the current coronavirus situation, our executive committee unanimously decided to cancel these national events.”
Among the USA Hockey national tournaments wiped off the slate are four boys events scheduled for Michigan: Youth Tier I 15 Only, which had been set for April 1-6 in Plymouth; Youth Tier I 16U and 18U, originally set for April 1-6 in Rochester; Youth Tier II 14U, which was to have been played April 2-6 in Kalamazoo, and Youth Tier II 16U, which would have been contested April 2-6 in Troy.
In addition, MAHA cancelled its 15 remaining Youth and Junior Varsity High School state tournaments.
Citing the safety of players, which he called “our top priority,” MAHA President George Atkinson said: “We’re sure there will be many questions, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we together work through this unprecedented situation.”
MHSAA also suspended its remaining Winter Sports state championships, including Ice Hockey, which were scheduled to be played from Thursday to Saturday at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth.
On Wednesday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recommended a stoppage of large gatherings in order to assist in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“Based on the events of the last 48 hours and with things changing by the minute, we believe we have no choice but to suspend our winter tournaments immediately,” MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl said. “This is a suspension until we have a better handle on the situation. The health and welfare of everyone involved is our No. 1 priority.”