The Muskoka Lumberjacks were formed in October 2020 knowing there were a lot of unknowns ahead.

The team’s Manager Bryan Boshold tells the MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom that starting a new team at any time of the year is tough, but throwing in the COVID-19 pandemic makes things more difficult. The Lumberjacks are made up of players born in 2011 and were due to start playing in the spring, but Boshold says that may not be happening. “At this point, all hockey in Ontario and Quebec is on hold due to provincial COVID-related legislation and we are prohibited from crossing the US Canada border for non-essential travel,” he says. “This limits every organization in Ontario to basically no hockey at this point unless they can find a pond or an outdoor rink to skate on. We’re hoping that this will change in the near future for the kids.”

“Adapting to COVID has been difficult to say the least.  Each of us wants our kids safe but the stringent rules for conducting hockey has become extremely onerous which makes it difficult for each facility, team, coach, player and of course the parents. We will persevere through this period and move back into normal operations as soon as possible,” Boshold says.

When the season does get underway, Boshold says they will focus on competing in the larger tournaments in Eastern Canada along with large tournaments in the United States and possibly – if allowed – travel to Europe. 

Even with the restrictions currently in place, he says there has been no issue signing players and running practices. “The skills sessions were extremely upbeat and a high tempo, some players and parents are not used to that,” he says. “I would say the skill level is usually higher for these kids that are interested in continuing with hockey through the spring/summer seasons.” 

“The kids that attended were 100-percent from the first drill, they were flying,” Boshold says. “It was quite impressive to see the skill level from this area.”

While the players are what he and the coaches focus on, Boshold says they have also done whatever they can to make sure parents are at ease as well. “I think they totally understand that we as an organization have been handcuffed by the current provincial legislation and Health Unit protocols,” he says. “Our organization continues to keep in touch with current technology and has done our best to remain upbeat and positive for our kids.  We also have been planning for the future, so when the State of Emergency is lifted we can get back to some high-intensity training.”