The Chatham Maroons want to be more family-friendly, so they’re moving their start time for Sunday home games to 3:30 p.m.
The Maroons have traditionally started at 7 p.m., but team officials announced the change Thursday after hearing from fans, municipal councillors and community members who wanted matinee games.
“Moving to an afternoon game time on Sunday will allow our games to be more accessible to everyone in the community and allow more kids and families to attend as well,” the Maroons said in a news release. “We have had a very loyal fan base for several years now and we believe this will only add to the game-day experience for the community fans of Chatham-Kent.
“We would like to make our games a community event that people can look forward to every weekend.”
The feedback indicated Sunday night games were inconvenient for many people because of school and work commitments the next day, the team’s owners and management said in the release.
“We believe a 3:30 p.m. start time would be early enough in the day where fans can still get home at a decent time after the game,” Maroons officials said. “We believe it is also late enough in the afternoon so fans can still have their day to enjoy time with family, watch football, attend church or enjoy their Sunday as they choose, and still attend our games in the late afternoon.”
The Maroons haven’t played since March 2020. The 2020-21 season in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
GOJHL teams don’t know yet how many fans will be allowed in arenas in the 2021-22 season.
“It’s been a difficult time navigating the past 18 months for several people and we believe it is vital for our community to have weekly events that everyone can look forward to attending,” Maroons officials said.
The GOJHL regular season is slated to begin Friday, Sept. 24, if public health authorities approve. Schedules have not been released.
The GOJHL showcase that traditionally kicks off the season has been moved to mid-January.
The regular season will end Sunday, March 13, and the playoffs will begin Wednesday, March 16.
The Maroons intend to play pre-season home games Sunday, Sept. 12, and Sunday, Sept. 19. Their regular-season home opener is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 26.
The Maroons are looking for game-day volunteers. Anyone interested can go to the team’s social media accounts and send a direct message.