The Western Hockey League introduced Tuesday that it has been granted approval by the B.C. Provincial Well being Workplace to play in bubble environments in Kamloops and Kelowna this season.
The league mentioned in a launch that the WHL’s B.C. Division will start play March 26.
The league’s announcement comes a day after B.C. Well being Minister Adrian Dix mentioned a plan had been accredited in precept to permit the league to renew play within the province through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Groups within the league’s different three divisions have already been cleared to play by state and provincial governments and public well being authorities.
The Kamloops Blazers, Prince George Cougars, and Vancouver Giants can be primarily based in Kamloops.
Groups can be permitted to journey straight between the hub cities for video games, with no stops permitted in between. No spectators can be permitted within the arenas.
The league mentioned a 24-game schedule for the B.C Division can be introduced at a later date.
Gamers and employees will start self-quarantining Saturday after which will report back to their respective bubble on March 13, the place they are going to be required to endure COVID-19 testing upon arrival adopted by a further quarantine interval.
Gamers and employees will then endure a second COVID-19 check earlier than being permitted to have interaction in any crew exercise.
Common COVID screening
The league mentioned COVID-19 screening for all gamers, crew employees and officers may also happen every day, together with common temperature screenings. Coaches can be required to put on masks always, together with whereas conducting apply and whereas behind the bench throughout video games.
“The WHL appreciates the cooperation we’ve obtained from the Provincial Well being Officer and well being officers in B.C. as we work towards a protected return to play within the B.C. Division,” WHL commissioner Ron Robison mentioned in a launch. “With our intensive protocols and the required approvals now in place, we’re wanting ahead to play starting within the Kamloops and Kelowna hubs.
“We’re excited to now have all 4 WHL Divisions returning to play because it was our goal from the onset to ship a season for all of our gamers.”
The beginning of the 2020-21 WHL season was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Play lastly started Feb. 26 with the league’s Alberta-based groups.
Groups within the U.S. Division are scheduled to start out March 19 whereas the East Division, with groups primarily based in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, has been cleared to play in a bubble atmosphere.
The Quebec Main Junior Hockey League was the one league underneath the Canadian Hockey League to start out its season at its conventional time, however pandemic-related points have brought about a number of interruptions.
The Ontario Hockey League has but to announce plans for a season.