The Chippewa Steel have paused their season until Dec. 31, the team announced Tuesday.
The Steel said in a press release the pause is due to schedule complications associated with Minnesota’s most recent public health order.
Chippewa plays in the North American Hockey League’s Midwest Division. The division is home to the Minnesota Magicians, along with two Alaskan clubs: Kenai River and Fairbanks. The two Alaskan teams have made Minnesota their home base this season.
Minnesota’s public health order, which went into effect last Friday, put a pause on most organized sports until Dec. 18.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s definitely one of those things that’s outside of our control,” Steel coach Carter Foguth said. “It’s just tough with getting the players here and trying to follow all the rules and do things as safely as we can, then unfortunately having to pause everything is tough. But it’s understandable.”
The postponed games will be rescheduled for later in the season.
Chippewa has already played four games this season, winning one and losing three. The Steel were scheduled to play the Magicians in Minnesota on Wednesday before returning to Wisconsin to take on Janesville in a two-game weekend series.
“It tough from that standpoint, especially for the players,” Foguth said. “They got out here and did everything that was asked of them, did a great job with following the rules. So it’s hard when something out of our control shuts things down.”
Chippewa has allowed its players to return home until the pause is over. Foguth speculated the other teams in the division would end up doing the same.
“It’s a decent amount of time off, so we wanted to give them the option to go home,” Foguth said. “There’s a handful of guys hanging around town here with their billet families, but for the most part a good chunk of them went back home.”
The Steel are scheduled to play the Austin Bruins on Dec. 31, when the pause expires.
“We’re really hoping (we can resume at that point),” Foguth said. “We’ve got to keep an eye on things in Minnesota. That’s really going to be the determining factor for us. Obviously it’s about more than hockey, and hopefully everybody’s doing their part and staying safe, doing what they need to do to get our hockey stuff back up and running.”