Western Hockey League (WHL) teams in B.C. will be hitting the ice again on March 26.
The WHL announced March 2 that B.C. Division teams will be allowed to play in two hub centers, located in Kamloops and Kelowna. All games will be played in these two cities, under a new approved model.
According to the WHL, they will play a 24-game regular season. No spectators will be allowed.
“The WHL appreciates the cooperation we have received from the provincial health officer and health officials in B.C. as we work toward a safe return to play in the B.C. Division,” said WHL commissioner Ron Robison.
“We are excited to now have all four WHL Divisions returning to play as it was our objective from the onset to deliver a season for all of our players.”
This includes five teams located in B.C.; the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals. Kelowna and Victoria teams will be based out of the hub centre in Kelowna playing at Prospera Place. The rest will be based in Kamloops.
Outside of B.C., other teams are also hitting the ice. The WHL Central Division opened on Feb. 26, while the East Division hub in Regina starts on March 12 and the U.S. Division begins play on March 19.
An extensive set of protocols have been developed to ensure players, staff and communities stay safe from COVID-19.
Players and staff will begin self-quarantining on March 6, followed by a COVID-19 test and an additional quarantine period. They will undergo a second test before being allowed to engage in any team activities. Daily temperature screenings and symptom monitoring will also take place. Everyone will be required to wear a mask, except when on the ice.
If anyone tests positive for the virus, the club will be required to suspend activities for a minimum of 14 days.
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