And then there was one.
A spike in COVID-19 cases around the U.S. and New England region caused the cancellation of several planned post-Christmas prep hockey tournaments, but even with some changes to schedule and teams, Cushing Academy is set to host the Edward G. Watkins Tournament Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 in Ashburnham, Mass.
Casualties of the coronavirus included the Nichols-Belmont Hill and North Yarmouth Academy holiday events both scheduled for Dec. 28-29. The Nobles-St. Sebastian’s New Year’s Showcase Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, along with Tabor Academy’s Joshua H. Weeks Tournament Jan. 3 and 4 were also scrubbed, reminding us all that what we thought was a return to normalcy and a regular schedule is facing new challenges with reaction to the increase in cases.
In the face of the recent cancellation of the 2022 World Junior Championship in Canada, as well as the NHL’s decision to pull out of the Winter Olympic Games in February due to COVID, schools and teams are rolling with the punches. The Watkins tourney, originally scheduled for three days, has now been condensed to two, with changes to participating teams and a reduction from eight schools to six. Playoff games, originally scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 2, have been canceled.
With everything else off the table, here is a closer look at the event, some updated storylines, and key newcomers to follow in two days of competition, the first prep hockey back on ice after the holiday break.