Hextall on Hockey: Will Manitoba government support MJHL?

Yes, there are more important things than hockey.

But the cancellation of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) competitive season isn’t just about the loss of hockey.

The MJHL – like all sports leagues – is a business, one that provides an economic benefit of $10 million to communities across Manitoba.

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What happens to any business when that revenue vanishes?

The government of Saskatchewan recognized this challenge and in January, provided $1 million in provincial support to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) — stating that the financial support will help the survival of the league and its teams in the face of the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister of trade and export development, Jeremy Harrison, called the province’s junior hockey teams “a critical part of the cultural fabric and local economies across Saskatchewan.”

The MJHL mirrors the SJHL in size and structure as a business.

It, too, is a critical part of the cultural fabric and local economies across the province of Manitoba.

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And it, too, needs financial support to help address financial challenges for the league and its 12 member teams.

Read more: Manitoba Junior Hockey League cancels remainder of season

Within the walls of 450 Broadway is a request from the MJHL for such financial assistance from the provincial government – a government and a premier who take great pride in stating publicly they believe in supporting local business.

The MJHL is a local business. Ten of its 12 teams are community-owned.

The question now is whether the government of Manitoba will mirror the government of Saskatchewan in its financial support to help the survival of our provincial league.

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