The BC Hockey League board of governors has changed course and decided not to vote on Friday to cancel the 2020-21 season. The BCHL now says the vote will come early next week.
The league’s latest return-to-play proposal is still in the hands of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.
They, along with other governing bodies, are deliberating about allowing the BCHL’s 17 teams to play in a 20-game season with pods of teams playing in five communities around the province.
In a tweet sent out Friday afternoon, the league says the vote was delayed due to “ongoing dialogue between the league office and the office of the Provincial Health Officer”.
The BCHL was reportedly told on Wednesday that government officials are still discussing the plan and would contact the league regarding a decision.
This past Wednesday, the motion or vote to cancel was pushed from Thursday to Friday to give the league an extra day to deliberate after the self-imposed deadline.
During Tuesday’s live COVID-19 update, Henry noted concerns she has with the BCHL’s pod-based return-to-play scenario but wasn’t specific on what exactly those concerns were.
“(It) is still in the consultation process and there have been a number of concerns identified – I’ll be blunt about that – that need to be addressed before (the return-to-play plan) can happen safely.”
She did directly reference the Western Hockey League’s bubble format in Kamloops and Kelowna on Tuesday in comparing the differences between it and the BCHL’s plan.
“Right now, (a team of public health inspectors, medical health officers, people from WorkSafe BC, and people from viaSport) are continuing to work with the BCHL and with our regional teams because the (BCHL’s) plan is dispersed around the province in a way that is slightly different than the (WHL) for example.”
The BCHL has indicated it will provide another update on the 2020-21 season in the coming week.