Sun Valley Suns senior hockey team’s 2020-21 schedule of games has been postponed for at least two months because of COVID-19 concerns, general manager and head coach John Burke said Monday.
The Suns were originally due to begin their ambitious 46th season of 25 games with two home contests against the Bozeman (Mont.) Stingers Dec. 4-5 at Hailey’s Campion Ice House.
Now, the earliest the Suns will be playing home games is Jan. 22-23 against the East Coast Gutter Snipes.
Burke informed Suns players of the development Friday as the team ended its first week of practices. If the season can resume in January, Burke said, he is rescheduling games to fill the next eight weekends with Suns hockey—for 16 games in all.
“We’ll keep trying to have some semblance of a season,” Burke said. “I want my guys to have some hope of playing. We’ll reassess everything after the Christmas holiday.”
Gov. Brad Little’s Oct. 27 announcement that moved the Gem State from Stage 4 to modified Stage 3 of the Rebound Idaho COVID-19 reopening process was a major factor in the Suns’ decision making, Burke said.
“We continue to be concerned about the safety of our players and the community,” he added.
A surge in daily case rates and hospitalizations contributed to Little’s decision to shift Idaho from Stage 4 (in operation since June 13) to Stage 3, which limits indoor gatherings to 50 people or fewer.
Stage decisions are made near the end of each month. Stage 4 allows gatherings of more than 50 people.
The Campion Ice House board of directors is due to have its monthly meeting Wednesday, Nov. 11. Burke said that Hailey Ice Executive Director Sarah Benson has been doing an incredible job strictly following pandemic protocols while allowing some senior and junior hockey practices