President of the Portland Winterhawks Doug Piper released a letter which outlined some of the topics discussed the other day.
Unlike the OHL, which posted committal to a Memorial Cup in June, the WHL had not. In fact the WHL was just posting its proposed games, which would had not listed any playoffs or further.
The games would simply be to stat and rate players eligible for draft and also give the younger players a chance to develop.
At this time, the WHL has not committed to anything past the initial 24 games.
In addition, Josh Critzer, former writer for Dub Network, has listed Seth Jarvis in the Portland lineup as soon as play resumes. Joel Hofer was the Winterhawks goaltender and is eligible by being an overager to being retained as a pro where St. Louis can place him in a higher league or return to junior which they haven’t indicated they will.
Jarvis is not of age, having just been drafted. He would have to be part of the NHL squad or returned to the WHL. As he is only with the AHL, he must came back to Portland. He would then rejoin the Hawks for a couple of years until age appropriate.
The other question many had was expenses. It appears that the Hawks among the US Division teams would play a central bubble with the other US teams in Seattle. It would be a further distance for Tri-City overall than any of the other US division teams, but it appears there would be no overnight stays. This would mean that the players would be housed on a billet situation. Players stay in homes during the season. Usually they have more time to prepare and vet prospective billets, but these billet coordination people look like they will be scrambling overtime.
Same can be said for the education. With school aged kids, they usually are placed in a school with additional homework to make up for when they are away. With online learning and schools just starting to reopen, no one is completely sure how the model will work. It appears that university age players would continue the past tradition of online learning as they have been doing.
In correspondence with Winterhawks media and Broadcast Director Nick Marek, it is going to be a mad scramble to the finish with so many rumors and uncertainty going forward. We can expect more of those until an actual season is played as people try to figure out how situations would work and be inplemented.
What we know is the WHL is planning a March 19th start. The Hawks will be using Dante Giannuzzi as the starting goaltender and getting a US player as a backup during the next short bit so as not to have border issues. It appears then that Joel Hofer has played his last game in Portland as a goaltender for which he is given best of luck as a pro. Seth Jarvis will return as he is not in the NHL lineup which will help boost the front row. There are four other players who were originally released in the complex system to the Lincoln Stars of the USHL. They will remain there this season and could only return to Portland if the Stars’ season ends and the Hawks end up with a postseason, which right now does not appear to be in the offerings. The four would then be part of the Hawks lineup next season.
Due to the extended season this year, Jeff Marek of Sportsnet has floated an October start for next year. In that the schedule stretches into September and there can be heavy gaps where some teams weren’t playing for ten days or better; this may be more feasible. Again, nothing is etched in stone.
The hope is that somehow, some sort of season will take place and in the coming months, they hope to find a way to allow people to stream the games as fans would not be allowed to attend and see if there would be a post season which as now, there appears not to be.
Stay tuned, we told you this was going to be bumpy and it’s proving to be.