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Public health approves BCHL plan to begin 'condensed' season

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March 12, 2021 - 11:22 AM

The British Columbia Hockey League's plan for a shortened season has been accepted by the Provincial Health Office, paving the way for play to begin during the first week of April.

The ‘pod’ model proposed and accepted by health officials, and now approved by the BCHL board of governors, will see three or four teams play each other in five different locations throughout the province. The condensed season will begin in the first week of April with a full schedule due in the coming weeks, along with details on pod locations.

BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb said in a media release issued today, March 12, the plan has taken “months and months of hard work.”

“The entire process has always been about our players and giving them the best chance to get back to playing games and showcasing their skills, and we have accomplished that today,” Hebb says in the release.

READ MORE: Kelowna and Kamloops approved as WHL hubs

The league has also hired a chief medical officer who will oversee all COVID-19 safety protocols for the five-week season, including testing and a quarantine period for players and team staff.

“At the end of the day, our league is all about getting players scholarships and moving them on to the next level to allow them to pursue their athletic and educational goals,” BCHL executive director Steven Cocker says in the release.

He says with no games since November, it has been difficult for players to get noticed by college programs, one result being there has been a “significant effect on the number of college commitments in the league this year.”

The shortened season will help refocus attention on the players.

“It’s been a long road for everyone involved with the league since we were shut down in November, but we are grateful that we get a chance to finish what we started and get our young athletes back on the ice," BCHL board of governors chair Graham Fraser said in the release.

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