New COVID-19 restrictions force KIJHL to pause season | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New COVID-19 restrictions force KIJHL to pause season

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
November 23, 2020 - 7:00 PM

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League is putting their season on pause following new public health measures and guidance from the province.

The KIJHL provided an update on league operations following the provincial health orders issued Nov. 19 and later clarification provided by Viasport, a B.C. government non-profit sports organization, on Nov. 20.

"In light of the new parameters outlined on Friday evening by Viasport, which include restrictions concerning travel between different communities, the KIJHL will pause all regular season game play beginning Saturday, Nov. 21. Under the current Provincial Health Order, competition between teams cannot resume until Monday, Dec. 8 at the earliest. Other Phase 3 activities, including team practices, may proceed so long as they adhere to all aspects of the KIJHL’s Return to Play policies," says a statement on the KIJHL website dated Nov. 21.

Several smaller communities in the South Thompson, Okanagan and Shuswap regions have KIJHL teams including the Osoyoos Storm, Kelowna Chiefs, North Okanagan Knights and Summerland Steam in the Bill Ohlhausen division, while the Chase Heat, Kamloops Storm and Sicamous Eagles play in the Doug Birks division.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the KIJHL says it has made the health and safety of athletes, staff, volunteers, billet families and fans a top priority and the league is closely observing all of the guidance and protocols outlined by the province, Viasport, Hockey Canada and BC Hockey and team’s home facilities.

Teams had been sorted into "cohorts" grouped together to reduce travel and exposure to other groups.

"On Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced additional province-wide restrictions, and we have been working hard to clarify their impact on our league," the statement from KIJHL says.

"We recognize that circumstances can change quickly, and we will update our plans as soon as new information becomes available. The KIJHL appreciates the patience and support of our fans, volunteers, billet families and sponsors as we navigate this process."

— This story was originally published in the Times-Chronicle.

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