Burnaby/Chilliwack (Brian Wiebe/BCHL) – JUNE 5 UPDATE – An update from
Jesse Adamson BCHL Communications
After a few quiet news weeks to finish the month of May, things picked back up again as the calendar flipped to June.
The Hockey Canada Registry (HCR) opened up on schedule on Jun. 1, meaning teams are able to operate business as usual when it comes to acquiring players to build their rosters for the 2020-21 season.
The BCHL also provided a COVID-19 update on Monday, touching on the opening of the HCR, their return-to-play efforts, as well as their ongoing discussions with the Provincial Government.
The league also published a two-part recap of the recently-completed Annual General Meeting and all the changes that came out of it. These changes include stricter rules around fighting, slew footing and charging, as well as a modernized way of filling out gamesheets.
Yesterday, Hockey Canada announced that they have lifted their ban on sanctioned events across the country. That means that it’s now up to its members and their individual Provincial Health Authorities to come to an agreement on safe return-to-play protocols.
June 2 ORIGINAL STORY – The BCHL provided an update today regarding their return-to-play plans for the 2020-21 season.
On last week’s final AGM call, the Board of Governors reviewed several different models put forth by the league office and the recently-appointed Return-to-Play Task Force.
Earlier this month, the BCHL created a Return-to-Play Task Force, which is responsible for outlining several different scenarios on how and when the league can resume its schedule, while working with the Provincial Health Authorities to develop return-to-play guidelines and safety measures.
These scenarios include different start dates depending on government restrictions, potential ways to ease the financial burden on teams for the coming season and protocols to be put in place to promote the safety of BCHL players, staff and fans.
“We had some very productive discussions with our Governors regarding a safe return to play for the BCHL,” said Commissioner Chris Hebb. “We support our provincial health authorities and will comply with the guidelines put in place to make sure the safety of our players, staff and fans are always at the forefront. That being said, we can’t wait to drop the puck on what is sure to be an exciting 2020-21 season.”
“The BCHL has been around for 59 years and we look forward to continuing that tradition for many years to come. Our league provides numerous jobs for residents of B.C. as well as education opportunities for hundreds of players, including 188 university and college student athletes last year alone, with many more expected in the coming months.”
Hockey Canada also announced over the weekend that the Hockey Canada Registry (HCR) will open today, as scheduled. This means that CJHL teams will be allowed to start making acquisitions to build their rosters for the 2020-21 season.
“Obviously, this isn’t a normal offseason, but with the HCR opening up on schedule, it will be business as usual for our teams as they prepare for the 2020-21 season,” said BCHL Executive Director Steven Cocker. “The BCHL is fully planning on playing this fall, as soon as we receive approval from Hockey Canada and the Health Authorities. The opening of the HCR is another step in the right direction for a return to play. Our Return-to-Play Task Force has been working diligently to ensure we have not left a single stone unturned as it relates to contingency plans.”
The league is also continuing its discussions with the Provincial Government, including conversations with B.C. Premier John Horgan, as well as Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture, the Hon. Lisa Beare.
“We’ve had lengthy discussions with Minister Beare and her office since sending them a letter in early April,” said Graham Fraser, Chairman of the BCHL Board of Governors. “Upon their request, we also submitted a detailed return-to-play plan and they are in the process of reviewing it.”
“Our call with Premier Horgan was also positive. He understands the importance of the BCHL to its 18 communities, as well as the entire province. Premier Horgan, along with Minster Beare, heard our request for financial support and both understand our position. We will continue these discussions with the provincial government in the coming weeks.”