The Maine Nordiques’ wait for their first matchup this season with the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks has been extended once again.

On Tuesday, the Hat Tricks’ Twitter account posted a statement that said a three of their games this week have been postponed, including Wednesday’s against the Nordiques in Danbury, Connecticut, due to COVID-19.

“Out of abundance of caution for our fans, players and staff, and accordance to Connecticut state guidelines, NAHL Jr. Hat Tricks games schedule for (Wednesday) vs. (Maine), (Friday and Saturday) vs. (the Johnstown Tomahawks) have been postponed,” said a portion of the statement. “Teams have mutually agreed to reschedule for a later date.”

It’s the second time this month that a Nordiques and Jr. Hat Tricks game has been postponed. Last week the Jr. Hat Tricks were supposed to play in Lewiston, but the teams mutually agreed to reschedule that game, as well.

Wednesday’s game was going to be a start of a three-game road trip for the Nordiques. They are scheduled to play the Northeast Generals in Attleboro, Massachusetts, on Thursday and Friday. A recent executive order by Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker declared that Massachusetts-based teams are only supposed to play Massachusetts-based teams, but Maine Nordiques coach Nolan Howe confirmed those games are still on.

Travelers from Maine are exempt from quarantining or providing a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before traveling to Massachusetts, because Maine is on Massachusetts’ lower-risk states list.

In addition to Massachusetts’ rules and regulations, Maine Department of Health and Human Services this past Friday said club sports should shut down for the next month due to the rise of coronavirus cases in the state. DHHS said there should be no games until January but practices can resume on Dec. 14.  Even though junior hockey teams have their own leagues, or governing bodies, DHHS considers junior hockey a club sport.

On Tuesday, DHHS spokeswoman Jackie Farwell said the state is still hoping for voluntary compliance from businesses and organizations, but harsh penalties remain on the table for non-compliance.

“The state places a high priority on voluntary compliance and is encouraged by Maine people, businesses and organizations who are taking the very real threat of the virus seriously by following the state’s health and safety protocols,” Farwell said in an email to the Sun Journal. “In the event of non-compliance, the state has the option of taking action against a facility’s operating license and violations of executive orders are a Class E crime, punishable by up to 180 days imprisonment and $1,000 fine. For an organization, Maine law sets the Class E fine at $10,000.”

USA Hockey, the governing body for the NAHL, has said all of its affiliates should follow state and local guidelines regarding the coronavirus.

“There’s no-one-size-fit-all across the country, as we know conditions differ, the sizes of facilities differ,” USA Hockey senior director of communications Dave Fischer told the Sun Journal. “There are all kinds of variance through this issue, everybody is trying to be prudent, and I feel like hockey, people have done a good job. It has not been perfect, nothing is, but people have been working together so our sport can continue to be played.”

THUNDER GAME UP IN THE AIR

The Twin City Thunder have a USPHL National Collegiate Development Conference game against the Northern Cyclones scheduled for Friday at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn, but it appears it will be postponed since the game is no longer listed for Friday on the league’s website.

Attempts to reach to co-owner and NCDC coach Dan Hodge went unsuccessful.

Unlike the NAHL, the USPHL is not governed by USA Hockey at the junior hockey level.

The Thunder played a game Saturday night, a day after Maine DHHS told club sports to shutdown defeated the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs 4-2. Hodge said after the game that it is still unclear if the club sports guidelines apply to junior hockey teams.

The Cyclones, based in Hudson, New Hampshire, and the Monarchs might be the two North Division opponents the Thunder may see a lot in the coming weeks, if games continue to be played. New England Hockey Journal’s Mark Divver reported Monday night that the four Massachusetts-based NCDC teams — Boston Advantage, the Jr. Bruins, Islanders Hockey Club and the South Shore Kings — will only play against each other for the foreseeable future because of the recent executive order that Massachusetts-based teams are only supposed to play Massachusetts-based teams.


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