Muskie teams set to return to action
It’s been more than a month since the colours of the black-and-gold have taken to the ice and courts, but that’s about to change.
After a conference call last Tuesday, plans were drawn up for the Muskie hockey, basketball, volleyball, and curling teams to resume play later this week in what will be abbreviated schedules.
“We received e-mails from the Keewatin-Patricia District School Broad saying that they were looking to something within their board [Kenora, Dryden, Red Lake, and Sioux Lookout] and they invited us along to see if we were interested.
“Once we got everyone onboard . . . the athletic directors went to work on getting the schedules in place,” he added.
While the schools’ athletic directors put the games together, the actual implementation of the schedule will be done by senior administration and members of the community.
That also means some changes have been made regarding the Muskie coaching ranks given many of the normal bench bosses are teachers and won’t be involved with extra-curricular activities.
For instance, the boys’ hockey team now will be led by Ed Vold, who was an assistant with the team earlier this season and took charge of the bench in place of Shawn Jourdain on a couple of occasions.
The Muskie girls’ coaching staff is said to be remaining intact with Scott Clendenning and Mark Rea, although there’s a possibility Larry Beck also may help out.
On the basketball court, Ian Simpson will take over from Bryce Coyle as the senior boys’ coach while Rob McGinnis will move up from assistant to head coach of the junior squad in place of Greg Ste. Croix.
For girls’ volleyball, long-time coach Amy Wilson-Hands now will be in charge of the senior squad in the absence of Jason Cain while Pete Drouin will lead the junior spikers with the help of Leana Moffitt and Pauline Hyatt.
As for the actual games, the Muskie girls’ hockey team will travel to Red Lake on Friday while boys visit St. Thomas Aquinas in Kenora next
Tuesday (Jan. 29).
“The games actually slotted into the regularly-scheduled ice times that we had already, so it worked out nicely for us in that sense,” Beckett noted.
“The format has been changed to a single home-and-away game between all of the teams to determine the final standings, which is why certain teams may not be facing the Muskies in the next couple of weeks.
“For instance, some might be asking where Dryden or Kenora is on the boys’ schedule, but they have already played them twice this year so it evens things out,” he explained.
The first home game for the boys will be against Sioux Lookout next Thursday (Jan. 31) before they host Red Lake the following night.
The black-and-gold then will conclude their “regular season” on Feb. 7 in Sioux Lookout and then on Feb. 12 in Red Lake.
Meanwhile, the Muskie girls will be on the road again Feb. 5 to face St. Thomas Aquinas (Kenora) before they return to the Ice For Kids Arena on Feb. 8 to host Red Lake.
After a home game against Sioux Lookout on Feb. 10, their “regular season” will conclude with a road game against the Kenora Broncos on Feb. 15.
Single-elimination semi-final games would take place Feb. 22, with a two-game, total-goal series to determine the league champions occurring Feb. 26 and March 1.
The Muskie court teams, meanwhile, will compete in a series of one-day events called the Northland Cup, which will see them play a couple of games on Saturdays over the next few weeks.
The first of those will take place this Saturday as the junior boys’ basketball team heads to Kenora for an event hosted by Beaver Brae.
“The schools that will be participating at those events, besides the Muskies, will be Kenora, Thomas Aquinas, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, and Dryden,” noted Ste. Croix.
“At the moment, it’s still being determined as to who will be playing who for each event, but it may not necessarily be just the ‘AA’ schools [Dryden, Kenora, and Fort Frances] playing one another,” he added.
The junior and senior girls’ volleyball teams will return to the court Feb. 2 in Dryden while the senior boys’ hoopsters are slated to visit Kenora on Feb. 9.
Finally, the Muskie curling rinks will travel to Sioux Lookout for their lone bonspiel of the season Feb. 24-25.
These games would mark the end of the season for all the teams as it’s already been determined that no NorWOSSA squads will compete at OFSAA.
“That was something that was decided on by both boards,” Beckett said.
“As it stands right now, with everything that’s going on at the moment within the schools [in regards to job action set forth by the OSSTF as a result of Bill 115], there will be no representation by the schools at OFSAA.”
That decision by the school boards is something that also has occurred throughout the province.
Some boards, like the Thames Valley District School Board in London, elected to shutter its entire winter sports schedule completely.