We’ll be honest with you, when thinking about sports and COVID-19, one of the last things on our minds was where junior hockey players would be living. But, we should have been paying more attention, because at least one team has found a wholly unique way to handle it.
First, a little background info. The majority of junior and major junior hockey teams in Canada use something called a billet system. Basically, teammates are matched with families in the community, who house them while they’re playing on the team. Most of the time, it works smoothly.
However, the ongoing pandemic has really messed with that plan. And, the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels may have found a solution. For the entirety of their 24-game season, which starts later this month, they’ll be quite literally living at their home rink, Centrium Stadium.
In a press release from the team, it is mentioned that the arena itself has been made more home-y, much like Rogers Place was in Edmonton for the NHL playoffs. So, ping-pong tables, basketball hoops, gym equipment, and so on. The best part? It looks like players will be taking over the suites that fans usually fill.
Talk about dreaming of hockey, hey?