Mooseheads find silver linings in latest shutdown


So what now for the Halifax Mooseheads?

They're back on the sidelines for the better part of the next month after the Nova Scotia government's latest COVID-19 shutdown. The Mooseheads are no different than all other hockey teams around Halifax Regional Municipality, restricted to just practices while we buckle down to try to contain the virus once more.

The Prince Edward Island government also shut down games until March 14 so the Charlottetown Islanders will also take a pause, as will the Cape Breton Eagles because they don't have anyone to play at the moment.

This is the second hiatus of the QMJHL season for the Mooseheads. But compared to the enforced pause back in December and January, head coach J.J. Daigneault said the mood around the team this time is more one of seasoned acceptance than it is dejection and devastation.

"By now, it doesn't really affect the players that much anymore," Daigneault said. "Obviously they would like to play through the month of March but there's been some disappointment and some adversity that we've had to deal with and everyone has adapted. Just playing against Charlottetown and Cape Breton the whole month of February, that was a little bit of adversity but the way we tried to look at it as a team was 'Is this adversity or is it opportunity?'

"I think we see it more as opportunity and we'll see the month of March the same way. It will be an opportunity for us to iron out everything with regards to our system and it's going to be an opportunity for the guys to get in the gym and get stronger and work on conditioning. At the end of the day, I'm hoping it's going to be beneficial for us."

Daigneault even took that outlook one step further with a reminder that the QMJHL is a developmental league. Major junior teams usually play close to 70 regular season games per year, plus a handful more in the pre-season and as many as 30 in the playoffs, depending on how long a run lasts.