Report: BCHL receives approval to play 2020-21 regular season


The BC Hockey League has made progress with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in its return-to-play plan and a modified 2020-21 regular season should be able to begin soon, Postmedia’s Steve Ewen reported this afternoon.

The league and health authorities had continuous dialogue over the last week to 10 days regarding a return-to-play plan after the BCHL board of governors decided to delay a vote to cancel the season.

The BCHL halted play on Nov. 19 because of restrictions put into place by the PHO in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 89 games completed during a training season between September and November.

The Nanaimo Clippers played the most games last fall with 16, while the Powell River Kings didn’t play any. The Kings’ last game was more than a year ago on Mar. 6, 2020.

To be, or pod to be, that is the question

The league’s 17 BC-based teams have begun to alert their players about the approval to play, Ewen reports. He also indicates there is a quarantine period and the return-to-play plan includes “multiple hubs”, which in the BCHL’s communication to this point were called “pods”, located around the province.

According to a report from The Athletic Vancouver’s Rick Dhaliwal, the plan includes five pods and players start a 14-day quarantine tomorrow, which games to follow shortly after.

TSN’s Farhan Lalji reports the pods are in Alberni Valley, Coquitlam, Chilliwack, Vernon, and Penticton and players will be tested for COVID-19 before each pod starts.

Ewen said that BCHL general managers have started to look for players to fill out their rosters after a number of them left to play in other leagues.

In her daily briefing on Mar. 2, Henry indicated she still has a number of concerns with the concept of BCHL teams playing and traveling around the province.

According to multiple sources, an official announcement regarding the approval is expected in the next 24 hours.