HSM Hockey would like to congratulate all the players selected in the 2020 NHL draft. This is such a terrific achievement and so many great stories of inspiration throughout (families like the Weisblatts are why we got into this business in the first place). HSM had some customers, friends, and friend's kids in 2020 drafted from various development programs. Today however I would like to talk about the incredible work of the OHL and raise the question how can we all continue to support them through the 2020-21 season?
The OHL had 31 players drafted from 18 teams, 7 in the first round, and 5 of the top 10, great work boys. HSM works with all leagues but the OHL is close to our headquarters and we consider many of the hockey operations staff friends at this point. After the announcement by the Ministry of Sport yesterday, it is clear that the the OHL and other leagues in Ontario are now in serious jeopardy. Running a season and protecting their young athletes will be incredibly difficult. Although important, the public health measures set forth by the Ontario Government will be an immense challenge for the league's operation.
Many OHL programs run without making a profit, and some are owned by residents in their towns just to keep their teams local. Player development is funded almost entirely by fans, local small business sponsorships, ticket sales, memorabilia, and concessions and this is a league that cannot operate in a bubble format. So how can the future best players in our game continue their progression and who is going to pay for it?
The Board of Governors are faced with seemingly impossible questions to figure out. HSM Hockey has pledged to help out all teams by continuing our pro equipment buy back program in its full capacity. But what can we all do as hockey fans in Ontario? How can we show them our continued support? Everyone tune into games on Rogers Sportsnet? Purchase memorabilia online at their team stores? Pack every building in the league as soon as they return? Lets all get behind the efforts.
By no means does the HockeyStickMan have the answers but if COVID has taught us anything, its that we shouldn't take the staples in our communities for granted and OHL hockey is certainly high on that list. As you can tell I am passionate about this in my community, but I urge all of our followers to consider the same for their local Pro, College, or Junior teams.