Combination of factors force shutdown of FSJ Flyers season

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Flyers Hockey Club announced they will not ice a team for the 2021-202…

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Flyers Hockey Club announced they will not ice a team for the 2021-2022 season.

Due to a number of obstacles, including a slow economy affecting sponsors and available committed players, and maybe most notably the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Senior Flyers find themselves in an unfortunate situation.

Team president Paul Van Nostrand says just a few weeks ago the league had a conference call, and everything seemed to be looking good.

“The four Alberta teams seemed like they were going to be ready to roll. Dawson Creek was going to be okay. But since then, the most recent provincial health order has come out,” said Van Nostrand. “I’m not sure what Dawson Creek is going to do, and I spoke to the league president. There are lots of COVID-19 issues in Alberta right now.”

Without considering the new vaccination requirements, the Flyers were always contending with a lack of available players.

“A lot of guys just aren’t necessarily wanting to make that commitment, to be on the road, a practise or two a week. Then, you throw in some COVID-19 rules, and that’s the package.”

Van Nostrand says it only takes a couple of players leaving to impact numbers.

“Since [the conference call], things have changed. A couple of guys who we’d been in touch with earlier in the summer had job offers in other places. Our numbers were skimpy at best, but we felt we had a good chance to have a good training camp with enough guys. But when you knock off a couple of those, and then the COVID-19 rules, we’re just not realistically able to ice a team.”

This isn’t the first time the Flyers have gone on hiatus due to a lack of players, says Van Nostrand.

“There was a period in the late 90s and early 2000s when they went through a similar situation as us, not being able to secure enough players. They had about a six-year hiatus, and then the team was resurrected. Now, we’re kind of going through it again. Some of the reasons are different, but some, many are the same.”

According to a release on Tuesday morning, while the entire Senior Flyers organization is extremely disappointed, “we will continue to dedicate our efforts toward the return of the Senior Flyers for the 2022-2023 season.”

The Fort St. John Flyers won the Allan Cup National Championship in 2010.

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