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Minnesota Hockey cancels youth state tournaments

Following suit with pro, college levels, amateur hockey in the state of Minnesota will not be having its postseason tournaments for youth teams

Minnesota Hockey logo.jpg

ST. PAUL โ€” On Friday, March 13, Minnesota Hockey announced it is cancelling its state youth hockey tournaments to be played this weekend throughout the state due to the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The cancellations include the following levels: 12-and-under 'B' girls, 12U 'A' girls, 15U 'B' girls, 15U 'A' girls, 19U girls, peewee 'B' boys, peewee 'A' boys, peewee 'AA' boys, bantam 'B', bantam 'A', bantam 'AA' and junior gold.

"While this is an extremely difficult decision for all involved, we feel that the safety of our players and their families has to be the priority," Minnesota Hockey president Steve Oleheiser said in a news release. "We realize this decision comes very late in the process and provides a major inconvenience. But after receiving a report that parents of two state tournament players are at risk for COVID-19, we just could not risk any of our players coming together and putting themselves in further jeopardy."

Several city governments have shut down (or are in the process of shutting down community facilities) and that includes arenas.

"We are fully understanding of all the hard work and effort our teams and coaches put into the ultimate goal of reaching a Minnesota Hockey state tournament," Oleheiser said. "We also understand that this decision was made late, after many teams have traveled long distances to reach their state tournament destination. This is disappointing for all involved.

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"We desperately were holding out hope that we would be able to pull off the events. This was absolutely a last resort and not a decision we took lightly. When dealing with events featuring children and teenagers, we could not in good conscience put on events that would put them, as well as parents, coaches, officials and volunteers, at risk."

On Wednesday, USA Hockey cancelled all national tournaments.

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Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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