The Sylvan Lake Wranglers’ season has come to an end midway through the north division finals.
The Wranglers were ahead in of the Mountainview Colts in the best-of-seven playoff series to decide who would face the south division champions for the league title.
“It wasn’t the ending of the season we were looking for by any means, but we certainly understand and in light of everything that’s going on and the safety of everybody it was the right decision,” said Wranglers’ Head Coach Pat Garritty.
The abrupt end to the season came in response to Hockey Canada’s statement the evening of March 12.
Due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic the decision was made to cancel all Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities, which in turn means all Hockey Alberta-sanctioned activities.
This cancellation filters down to all Hockey Alberta, which the statement says includes league games, playoffs, practices, camps, as well as all championships at minor, female, junior, senior and sledge levels.
Games four and five for the Wranglers were set to take place this weekend, March 13 and 14 as the team continued to battle for a spot in the championship.
“We were up two games to one on a very good team, the Mountainview Colts, and that’s all I know,” said Garritty as to what the rest of the season may have looked like if it played out.
Despite the unexpected end to the Wranglers’ season Garritty says the team’s inaugural season was “exceptional.”
“We had an incredible playoff run and the boys worked really hard,” he added. “They were committed to success and as a coach that’s all you can ask for.”
The quick move from Blackfalds to Sylvan Lake was difficult, but Garrity says the level of acceptance the team received from the community was second to none.
“We’re looking forward to many years of success here and hopefully we can eventually bring home that HJHL Championship so the town can celebrate with us.”
Additionally, due to the Hockey Canada cancellations the bantam West Central Tigers will not be hosting provincials in Sylvan Lake next weekend, March 19-22.
The team did capture the South Central Alberta Hockey League Bantam AA champions title.