The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League remains committed to its goal for providing a season despite of the recent Provincial Health Order extension to February 5, 2021 limiting sports activities and travel.
KIJHL Commissioner Jeff Dubois said the league remains hopeful of resuming regular season play at that time and will continue with preparations to award the Teck Cup to our league champion in the spring.
The decision comes after BC Provincial Health Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the February 5 extension to the health order last week due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.
“I would like to acknowledge the patience and resiliency of our athletes, team staff, billet families, volunteers, sponsors and fans as we continue to navigate a challenging season,” Dubois said in a statement on the KIJHL website.
“Our goal is to return to competitive play as soon as the provincial guidelines allow us to do so. In the meantime, our member clubs are working hard to maximize development opportunities for their players in a structured team environment while following all relevant health and safety protocols.”
Dubois said Dr. Henry’s office updated the existing PHO on December 28th to lift the restrictions that limited 19- and 20-year old players from taking part in on-ice activities, meaning that all KIJHL players are once again able to participate with their teammates.
The KIJHL will continue to monitor new information as it becomes available and communicate with BC Hockey and ViaSport regarding a safe return to play.
The BC Hockey League announced last week the league has delayed its season for at least another month following the recent Provincial Health Order extension.
The BCHL initially announced a start date of Dec. 1 in July and pushed it back to Dec. 8 in November. On Dec. 8, it announced a postponement to Jan. 8. Now the 2020-21 season won’t start any earlier than Feb. 6.
The BCHL has seen a number of players leaving its Junior A clubs for teams in the United States.
Last week the Western Hockey League said it has committed to playing a 24 game season.
The season will still require approvals from the six different health authorities consisting of the six regions the WHL plays in. It is believed that these approvals are coming in the near term.
The Board of Governors approved the plan at its meeting held virtually.