EOSHL pauses season, owners consider options

Special to WC Online

WEST CARLETON – The West Carleton Rivermen and the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League (EOSHL) had been chugging along it its second season after last year was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

League executives have a sense of déjà vu to kick off the New Year, as the league has suspended play and is searching for answers after COVID-19 and provincial government restrictions have the Senior A hockey league wondering if it will be able to finish the season this year.

The Rivermen last played Dec. 18, a 3-1 win over the Bytown Royals. A game that was forfeited on paper, but quite testy on the ice.

The Rivermen postponed their next game as their competition had a couple of positive COVID-19 tests on the team. It was one of several cancellations for the EOSHL in December. The last EOSHL regular season game played was a 4-1 win for the Glengarry Pipers over the Cornwall Prowlers on Sunday. Dec. 19.

“The EOSHL have postponed four games this weekend,” EOSHL President Mitch Gagne released in a statement on Dec. 11. “Wednesday of this week (Dec. 8) the Frontenac Phantoms had nine players test positive for COVID-19. The Phantoms played Maxville last Saturday (Dec. 4) and Maxville has reported a few players showing symptoms and are currently being tested. The league would also like to confirm as of this morning, a linesman in that game last week has tested positive also. The league has postponed all games involving Maxville and Frontenac for this weekend and in hopes that we can stop any spread to any other teams and not have more games postponed moving forward. The EOSHL president is keeping in touch with both teams and following the protocols to protect all players, staffs and the fans. We wish all players along with our linesman who have tested positive a quick healthy recovery.”

The New Year started with new provincial regulations which took the decision-making out of the hands of the EOSHL executive and the regular season is currently suspended for an indeterminate amount of time.

League owners and the EOSHL continue to look at their options.

“The EOSHL had a video meeting with owners and general managers last night (Jan. 5),” Gagne released in a statement yesterday (Jan. 6). “The league will be discussing over the next couple weeks on two scenarios on how to complete the season. If we return right away on the last weekend of January. If there is an extension of restrictions and start middle of February.

The league will meet again in a couple of days prior to the regular Jan. 26 meeting and hope a positive solution can be put together to finish the season.”

The Rivermen go in to the hiatus in third place in the six-team EOSHL West Division with an 8 wins- 5 losses- 0 ties- 2 overtime wins- 1 overtime loss record. The team is one point behind the second place Tweed Oil Kings (9-2-0-2-0) who were red hot and have three games at hand. The Rivermen are seven points ahead of the fourth place Gananoque Islanders (4-6-0-0-2). The top four teams from each division make the playoffs.

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