We are in an era where sport is officially listed as “day-to-day.”

With the pandemic and athletes’ protests taking centre stage we are again reminded, that all sports take a back seat to real life, real pressure, real change, and yes, a real crisis.

The NBA, NHL, and MLB are examples of leagues that may or may not play today, or tomorrow, or next week.

Take nothing for granted and when we do get to watch basketball, hockey, or baseball as a form of entertainment, enjoy the moment.

Professional athletes are leaders who are making a difference.

For that, they deserve from us the fans not only our applause but our respect.

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As the calendar closes out August, don’t look now but the QMJHL is set to open training camps this Sunday with the plan to have the 2020-21 season begin in just under five weeks on October 1st.

The Western Hockey League will be watching closely the developments in the Quebec League after announcing on August 6th that its regular season has been delayed from Oct 2nd to Dec 4th.

If the WHL has a season, the league better be prepared to do so with many empty seats.

B.C.’s top doctor, Bonnie Henry said this week “There are many more months of this (COVID-19) to come.”

She was also insistent the maximum number of people allowed at indoor gatherings in the province would stay at 50 adding there is “no opportunity” to change that in the near future.

In the WHL news release this month the league issued the following statement:

“The WHL continues to have regular discussions with government and health authorities on the extensive safety measures the WHL is prepared to take to protect players, staff, and fans and to address key issues such as spectator capacities and border crossings. By adjusting the start date for its Regular Season to early December, the WHL will have additional time to work with government and health authorities to resolve these important issues.”

“Regardless of our start date, the WHL is committed to playing a full Regular Season and Playoffs in 2020-21,” stated WHL Commissioner Ron Robison.

“In our discussions with the government and health authorities, it has become apparent that additional time is required to ensure we can return to play in a safe and responsible manner. Our WHL health and safety protocols have been well received by the health authorities but we have several key issues that we will need to reach a resolution on in the coming months.”

How well the virus is being contained in the next few months will be a large indicator, if and when, the puck will drop.

With safety a top priority, I am not sure it is necessary that the WHL has its players compete in a full 68-game season crammed into a much shorter amount of time.

If the WHL is able to start December 4th and play through until the end of April that would be 68 games in just under five months.

(The 102nd Memorial Cup is scheduled to be played from June 17-27, 2021, in Oshawa or Sault St. Marie)

Ordinarily, the season (like 2018-19) runs from mid-to-late September to mid to late-March before playoffs, which is 6 months.

Even the OHL (that has teams travel fewer miles than the WHL) has shaved four games going from 68 to 64.

The QMJHL (starting two months earlier than the WHL OHL) is planning just a 60-game schedule.

A 68-game season in five months means the schedule is more demanding on the players (especially three games in three days on a Friday-Saturday-Sunday) and the amount of mid-week games (Tuesday-Wednesday), which most fans want fewer of, will go up.

So, who exactly does this benefit?

The PG Cougars Vice-President of Business Andy Beesley said he just has his fingers crossed that there is a season regardless of how many games

“At this point, being able to operate even if it’s at a limited capacity is better than not operating so everyone is quite content to face reality and just move forward. It might not what we want it to be but it’s better than the alternative of doing nothing.”

Beesley also told Brendan Pawliw of mypgnow.com that extending training camp is not being looked at for the time being.

“We are not prepared or interested in bringing our players in until we can do it consistently across the league so that we don’t have one team that’s got months of training with their players and another that doesn’t have any. The entire league wants some consistency there but we are not going to do it until we have a solid safety plan for our players.”

“We also want them to register for school in their own hometowns right now until the situation is a little more settled.”

When 22 WHL teams hold a meeting it would not be surprising if there are 22 different ideas about trying to go forward with a season in the pandemic era.

Similarly, I bet the 18 BCHL teams all have their different thoughts about how to proceed.

(The BCHL is hoping for a Dec 1st start)

Junior hockey and other leagues that are dependent on having revenue from fans just need to continue to show patience.

Once it becomes clear, a season will at least attempt to start, at that point then leagues such as the WHL should consider final scheduling with the best interest of not only the owners but players and fans.

Junior players, trying to impress, would likely play seven days a week if asked.

They love the game that much.

The WHL has many schedules drawn up with the hope one will be used involving all 22 teams.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed there is a season, even if it means fewer games and fewer opponents.

It can be argued that sometimes “less is more.”

FROM THE QUOTE RACK

Usain Bolt celebrated his 34th birthday with a mask-free party in Jamaica last week. Tuesday he announced he has tested positive for coronavirus. This puts a whole new meaning on “You can run but you cannot hide.”

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

Well, Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas was brand new and all in her splendour, and then the Raiders stepped in to practice. I could’ve sworn that I heard playing somewhere the Four Tops ‘It’s The Same Old Song.’

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Twenty big-league teams — two-thirds of them, that is — have amassed more strikeouts than hits at the plate this season. Belated 2020 MLB motto: “Get a whiff of this!”

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

IN CASE, YOU MISSED IT:

A wedding party posing on a Michigan dock got plunged into the cold water when it collapsed. I’m thinking of pier pressure?

*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