Winnipeg MJHL teams appear to have travelled out of red zone for practice

WINNIPEG — Hockey Manitoba is currently investigating reports that two Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) teams based in Winnipeg travelled outside the city Monday to bypass code red restrictions.

Monday evening on the Winnipeg Blues and the Winnipeg Freeze hockey teams appear to be practicing in Warren, Manitoba.

Group sports are not allowed in Winnipeg under the current code red restrictions, but Monday the rest of the province was still at response level orange.

Lori Schellekens, Reeve of the RM of Woodlands where Warren is located, said she was disheartened to hear that Winnipeg-based teams were travelling outside the city to play sports in her RM.

“Whoever did this, why would you even think it would be ok for anybody in a red zone (to come) into a orange zone?” said Schellekens.

Schellekens said teams trying to skirt around health restrictions and coming into her community shows a blatant disregard for the residents there.

“We are trying desperately to keep everyone safe, and we have had some cases here in our community.”

Hockey Manitoba told CTV News it’s looking into the situation but declined to make any further comment.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer said the code red restrictions are in place to protect Manitobans.

“Anyone who tries to work outside these rules right now, you’re putting other Manitobans at risk,” said Roussin on Tuesday. “I know it’s difficult, it’s going to be short term, but we all need to step up and bring down these numbers.”

On Monday afternoon, the MJHL posted an update on its website that said:

“MJHL teams currently affected by the above restrictions and whose locations reside within critical red regions include Winnipeg Blues, Winnipeg Freeze, and Selkirk Steelers.

“These teams are not permitted at this time to travel outside the region to participate in sanctioned hockey activities.”

CTV News reached out to 50Below, the company that owns both hockey teams but it declined to comment. 

CTV contacted the coaches for both teams, but did not receive a reply.

Schellekens said getting COVID-19 is preventable if we all follow guidelines and stay home as much as possible.

“Sports is important I agree, but is important enough to cause a whole community to maybe get infected?” 

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