Nelson Leafs return to ice after 10-month pandemic shut down

Team faces off in limited-audience exhibition tilts against Beaver Valley Friday and Saturday

 

Nelson — After 10 months away from regular season play, The Nelson Leafs kick off the start of
their Kootenay Junior Hockey League exhibition season Friday night in Beaver Valley against the
Nitehawks.

The Leafs then host the Nitehawks Saturday at the Nelson and District Community Complex.

“We’re so ready to get back to hockey — the players, the coaches and the fans,” says Head
Coach Mario DiBella. “Like everyone around the world, it’s been a long and challenging time.
But the players have come out of this stronger mentally and emotionally, and many of them
have reported to camp in great shape.”

The Leafs last home game was November 2020, one of only five games played before the
pandemic forced the cancellation of the KIJHL season.

The team was coming off a positive year in 2019/20, before that season too was cancelled, at
the start of the pandemic. The Leafs had torn through the Murdoch Division playoffs. Nelson
swept the Spokane Braves and were up two games to none on the Nighthawks. They’d
outscored Beaver Valley 11-0.

“We are very excited about our core group of returning players and the leadership qualities
they bring” says Assistant Coach Adam DiBella. “We’re going to be playing some very
entertaining hockey this season.”

Beaver Valley will be allowing a limited number of fans to the Friday night game — but you’ll
need proof of both vaccine doses. Mask and social distancing orders will be in effect.

However, Saturday’s home game will be open to 545 spectators with proof of double
vaccination. This marks the first time that fans will be able to see the Leafs play since the
2019/20 post season.

“Having fans back in our arena is a monumental leap towards a ‘New Normal’” Says Head Coach
Mario DiBella. “We are so fortunate in Nelson to have the best fans in the league and are
thrilled at the opportunity to play in front of our fans again”.

The regular season starts October 1 versus Beaver Valley at home.
Tune in to the weekend’s exhibition games on Hockeytv.com