Burnaby -Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the BC Hockey League is requesting financial assistance from the provincial government to offset major losses for its teams due to the shutdown of the league.
On March 13, after the first round of the BCHL Playoffs, the league was forced to cancel the remainder of its season due to the pandemic as Hockey Canada shut down all sanctioned events indefinitely. This also includes spring camps run by BCHL teams, which are a major source of revenue.
This includes the Chilliwack Chiefs, Merrit Centennials, Surrey Eagles, Langley Rivermen an Coquitlam Express.
“We have every intention of playing hockey next season, with all 18 of our teams, if we get the green light from Hockey Canada as well as the provincial health authorities,” said BCHL Commissioner Chris Hebb. “But, the reality is we’ve identified potential financial issues down the road due to this pandemic and want to address these problems now.
“The league has already lent its support to our teams through a contingency fund, but it’s clear that more is needed.”
With so much uncertainty heading into next season, teams aren’t able to count on ticket revenue for 2020-21 or the same level of support they are used to receiving from sponsors.
“We are seeking the support of the B.C. government and are merely asking for a meeting to explain the economic, social and cultural impact of our teams on the 17 B.C. communities they represent,” said Graham Fraser, Chairman of the BCHL Board of Governors.
The BCHL has gathered letters of support from the mayors of their markets in B.C., as well as the District of Kitimat where the league held its first-ever BCHL Road Show in February.