The Ridge Meadows Flames are practising three times a week, but not playing. (Facebook)

The Ridge Meadows Flames are practising three times a week, but not playing. (Facebook)

Ridge Meadows Flames keep practising, hoping to play in February

Cyclone Taylor Cup and all-star events cancelled

The Ridge Meadows Flames are skating three times a week, and staying ready for the return of Junior B hockey.

“We’re in a holding pattern, until public health allows us to play games,” said Flames GM Derek Bedard.

He explained the team is conducting phase two practices, which means there is no contact allowed, and no intra-squad games. It allows for skills and drills.

Bedard said the lack of competition is disappointing, but the extension of public health restrictions on sport was predictable given the current number of daily cases of COVID-19. The health orders will be extended until Feb. 5, meaning another month of practices for the Flames.

“Our team is extremely close – one of the closest I’ve been around, and they love coming to the rink,” said Bedard.

They enjoy it more given that the team has returned to an upgraded Planet Ice Maple Ridge as of the middle of December. They had started the season in Abbotsford, while renovations were under way at their home rink. In addition to mechanical upgrades, the place got a new look. The blue paint has been replaced with a white-grey-red colour scheme that is brighter.

BC Hockey announced this week that it is cancelling the 2021 Cyclone Taylor Cup, which is the provincial Junior B championship.

READ ALSO: BCHL delays start of the season as provincial health orders remain in place

READ ALSO: Basketball coaches worry about hoops in Maple Ridge

“We’re disappointed to announce the cancellation of the 2021 Cyclone Taylor Cup. However, under the current circumstances, we believe this is the right decision to make,” said PJHL Commissioner Trevor Alto. “This way, each league can continue to focus on their own return to play for this year.

That frees up the Pacific Junior Hockey League to finish play on whatever schedule they choose, noted Bedard.

“We’re anxiously waiting to go.”

The league also announced it will also cancel the 2021 Prospects Game and the 2021 All-Star Game between the PJHL and the VIJHL, both of which began taking place annually between the two leagues in January 2020.

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