The BC Hockey League announced a shortened 2021 season will begin in early April, following approval from the league’s board of governors and the provincial health office. (Damon James photo)

The BC Hockey League announced a shortened 2021 season will begin in early April, following approval from the league’s board of governors and the provincial health office. (Damon James photo)

BC Hockey League announces shortened season will begin in April

Junior ‘A’ hockey league board of governors approve season following green light from province

The BC Hockey League is returning to the ice.

The junior ‘A’ circuit announced Friday morning that its board of governors had approved a 2021 season – significantly shorter than a traditional schedule – following the Provincial Health Office accepting the league’s proposal for a “safe return to play” plan.

The shortened season will be played in a “pod” model, where three to four teams will play each other in five different locations across the province. The BCHL release did not specify what cities would serve as hubs, but in a separate announcement by the provincial government Friday afternoon, Penticton, Coquitlam, Chilliwack, Vernon and Port Alberni were listed as the hubs.

The condensed season will begin the first week of April, and a full schedule will be released “in the coming weeks” according to the league.

“After months and months of hard work behind the scenes by the league’s Return-to-Play Task Force, we are pleased to make the announcement today that the BCHL will be back on the ice to play the 2020-21 season,” said BCHL Commissioner Chris Hebb in a news release.

“This entire process has always been about our players and giving them the best chance to get back to playing games and showcasing their skills, and we have accomplished that today.”

Prior to releasing details on the return-to-play plan, the BCHL official Twitter account posted a simple, two-word message: “We’re back.”

“Sports are important for young people’s development and we understand how hard the time away from friends and teammates has been,” said B.C. Minister of Health Adrian Dix in a release.

“I know that Dr. Henry and her team are working hard to determine how to safely return more leagues back to the field of play this spring.”

The BCHL has hired a chief medical officer who will oversee all COVID-19 safety protocols for the five-week season – including testing and a quarantine period for players and team staff.

“It’s been a long road for everyone involved with the league since we were shut down in November, but we are grateful that we get a chance to finish what we started and get our young athletes back on the ice,” said Graham Fraser, chair of the league’s board of governors.

The BCHL’s 2020-21 season has been delayed numerous times.

Last fall, teams – except for the Powell River Kings and U.S.-based Wenatchee Wild – played a handful of exhibition games within cohort groups, which the league deemed a “training season,” and the regular season was set to open Dec. 2. That date was pushed until Dec. 8 due to health orders, and then pushed forward into January and February as provincial COVID-19 restrictions were held in place.

Due to the continued closure of the Canada-U.S. border, Wenatchee is not part of the renewed season.



sports@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCHLSurrey Eagles

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire crews battle a large wildfire north of Highway 1 east of the Yale Road West exit on Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Firefighters battle wildfire in Chilliwack near Hwy 1

Helicopter dropping water on large wildfire in Chilliwack near Yale Road West exit, north of highway

web
Fire breaks out inside Mission Walmart

Customers, staff evacuated as firefighters investigate

Japanese Canadian citizens being transferred into waiting trucks outside Hope Station House. NNMCC L2021-2-1-004. Photographs courtesy of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre
Fight continues for historic Hope Station House

Ombudsman report and stop work order come alongside district’s move to remove heritage status

Lift equipment is driven away from a fire in an adjacent unit on Industrial Way in Chilliwack on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack firefighters deal with heavy smoke, extreme heat in challenging industrial fire

Crews successful in containing fire to 1 unit in industrial building, adjacent units suffer smoke damage

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Most Read