The Langley Rivermen won’t play as part of the abbreviated 2020-21 BCHL season.
An official announcement hasn’t been made and teams have until Saturday to officially declare their intentions for the return-to-play season, but as first reported by The Athletic Vancouver’s Rick Dhaliwal, the Rivermen have decided to opt out.
News of Langley’s decision comes the same day the provincial health officer conditionally approved the BCHL’s safe return-to-play plan and the board of governors also approved the running of a 2020-21 season.
The Rivermen did participate in the league’s 2020-21 training season, finishing with a 3-5-2 record in 10 games. Its .400 win percentage put Langley seventh overall in the Coastal Conference during the training season.
The Riv conspicuously don’t have anything posted on their social media platforms regarding the BCHL being back after more than a year without regular season or playoff games.
In an interview with BCHLNetwork earlier Friday, BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb noted teams would have 48 hours from the season announcement to opt out of the return-to-play. He also indicated at that point in time, no teams had opted out.
With the Rivermen pulling out, it leaves eight teams in each of the BCHL’s conferences. Wenatchee went on hiatus for the season due to the ongoing closure of the US-Canada border due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The schedule for the upcoming season hasn’t been released by the BCHL yet, but it is known that teams will be split into groups of three to four in five pods in Port Alberni, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Penticton, and Vernon.