COVID-19 ends 'bittersweet' season for hockey players from 7 countries in Seaforth, Ont.
WINGHAM, ONT. -- The Seaforth Generals are champions - co-champions - at least.
Due to concerns over COVID-19, the Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League (CPJHL) has ended their playoffs early, leaving the Seaforth Generals and a team from Quebec to share the championship.
It’s a bittersweet end to a season for the Generals, who have players from seven countries, speaking 11 languages.
The CPJHL is not sanctioned by Hockey Canada, which means there are no caps on international players.
So this year the Generals had players from Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Austria and Switzerland.
Raul Barbo is the team’s starting goalie. He’s from Spain.
“Hockey is not that common in Spain. I started with inline hockey, and then a friend said, try ice hockey. I liked it, right away,” he says.
Head Coach Norm Maracle, who used to play in the NHL, says it’s not that much of a challenge coaching players from around the world.
“I’m used to the different languages and customs. I played in Russia and Germany, I’m used to it,” he says.
Now that the playoffs have been cancelled, many of the international players are heading home, as early as Friday night, to avoid any potential travel restrictions due to the novel coronavirus.