A number of details have begun to emerge regarding the five pods being used for the shortened 2020-21 BC Hockey League season.
The BC provincial government announced on Friday following conditional approval of the BCHL’s safe return to play plan by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the five cities that will act as pods for the truncated season include Port Alberni, Coquitlam, Chilliwack, Penticton, and Vernon.
According to Wayne Moore of Castanet, the expansion Cranbrook Bucks and Trail Smoke Eaters are expected to join the Vees in a pod in Penticton.
Meanwhile, the West Kelowna Warriors and Salmon Arm Silverbacks will faceoff against the Vipers in the Vernon pod.
Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen notes only the Spruce Kings, Trail, Powell River, and Cranbrook will stay in hotels in their respective pod cities. All other teams’ players will remain with their billets and travel to and from each game in their pods.
Clarke adds that teams like the Spruce Kings, Smoke Eaters, Kings, and Bucks, who end up with the added expense of food along with hotel stays, will receive financial assistance to cover some of the costs.
Powell River Peak reporter Paul Galinski wrote on Friday that the Kings are likely to play in the Coquitlam pod, while the Victoria Grizzlies, Nanaimo Clippers, Cowichan Valley Capitals, and the Bulldogs will play their games in Port Alberni.
No home ice for any team in the Coquitlam pod
Meanwhile, Mario Bartel of the Tri-City News outlined how the pod based in Coquitlam will actually play out of the Scotiabank Barn in Burnaby.
The Express had hoped their home rink at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex could act as one of the pod arenas, but the ice needs to come out for the upcoming lacrosse season.
According to Bartel, there was also concern about accessibility because the Poirier Forum, which is located across from the Express’ home ice, is due to act as a COVID-19 vaccine location soon.
Per a post on their website, the Merritt Centennials will join the Chilliwack pod when their quarantine is over.
In gleaning the information from various local sources around the province and with the Langley Rivermen opting out, only the Surrey Eagles are unaccounted for. Really, it makes sense to put the Eagles into the Burnaby pod.
- Port Alberni: Alberni Valley Bulldogs, Cowichan Valley Capitals, Nanaimo Clippers, Victoria Grizzlies
- Burnaby: Coquitlam Express, Powell River Kings, Surrey Eagles
- Chilliwack: Chilliwack Chiefs, Prince George Spruce Kings, Merritt Centennials
- Penticton: Cranbrook Bucks, Penticton Vees, Trail Smoke Eaters
- Vernon: Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Vernon Vipers, West Kelowna Warriors
Bear in mind the BCHL hasn’t officially announced which teams will be in which pod, so any of the information included here is most certainly subject to change.