The Prince George Cougars are in the same boat as most junior hockey teams.

They have their fingers crossed that there will be a 2020-21 season.

The waiting game brings out patience, composure and endurance.

Under its Return to Play format, the WHL is aiming for an October 2nd start date, but there is a big “if” as that is contingent on approval from the provincial government and local health authorities.

PG Cougars Vice-President Business, Andy Beesley, told MyPGNow.com they have prepared for any scenario that may play out.

“We don’t want any excuses and we don’t want to make any reasons why we aren’t going to have a great season so whether we are playing more BC teams or more western Canadian teams or all the teams as normal, we’re just saying bring it now, we’re prepared for it.”

The WHL announced last week that the league is not prepared to start unless fans are in the building with a minimum capacity of 50%.

On a short-term basis, teams can operate with half-full buildings but long-term it would be crippling financially.

In May, Cougars co-owner John Pateman stated he has a goal to get at least 1,500 more fans per game in order to break even which would mean close to 4,000.

That number is impossible to achieve, should CN Centre (capacity about 6,000), only be allowed to fill half the building.

“Seventy per cent of our business is ticket driven,” Bruce Hamilton, president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets told Rob Munro of infotel.ca

In that interview, Hamilton said he knows of a company that has developed software to “map” arenas so that groups of six or eight people can be safely seated.

To get clearance from BC’s popular top doctor, Bonnie Henry, on holding games with large crowds by October seems very optimistic.

Vancouver will not be an NHL hub city because Henry wasn’t about to give any concessions just because hockey is a popular sport.

“What we provided was our advice and, basically, the fact that we would take the health of the players and the health of our province as the primary concern in terms of having the NHL play in Vancouver,” Dr Henry stated Thursday during her media briefing in Victoria. “I actually think that is a positive for us and that it should have been something that the NHL saw as a positive partnership. We are doing very well. We have a good balance. But under no circumstances was I going to compromise in any way the health of people here in British Columbia, and we made that very clear.”

There is not much Beesley can do or say other than put on a brave face and hope that the team and league can find a way to combat COVID-19.

“We’re going to carry on as normal and we’re going to make sure that everyone gets full value for their money, and regardless of what happens, it’s so difficult to speculate but there could be building limits, social distancing inside the building. There could be a requirement to wear masks and there could be changes in how we do food and beverage along with entrance and exits.”

Ever since the WHL shutdown on March 12th, the Cougars have been operating on a day-to-day basis.

Three-and-a-half months later, not much has changed.

The team is quietly forging ahead by selling season tickets, hoping to deliver 34 home games.

Yes, the Cougars will continue to look ahead but circumstances beyond their control will dictate when their business truly re-opens and games can again become a reality.

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All the best to “Dapper” Dan O’Connor (voice of the Vancouver Giants) and former PG Cougars coach Mark Holik on their new podcast.

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK

In an upcoming film, Jamie Foxx will portray Mike Tyson. So what’s it going to be called, ‘Law A-Biting Citizen’?

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Contestants will be at least six foot-longs apart.

*Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, on physical-distancing measures at the Nathan’s July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest

ESPN headline today is about fantasy football. Beginning to think in 2020 the fantasy is that we can play football.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

Detroit Tigers star slugger Miguel Cabrera just teamed up with Venezuelan artist Sibilino to release “Miggy Al Bate” — or “Miggy at Bat” in English. Can’t wait to hear the reviewers’ verdict: hip-hop single or bad-hop single?

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/


IN CASE, YOU MISSED IT:

  1. What do you get when a black bear, found up a tree at Colorado University, is shot with a
    tranquillizer rifle?
  2. A cartridge in a bear tree.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

 

Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 the Goat radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca