Port Moody/Fraser Valley – – The Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) recently held a special meeting to update the return to play plan for the 2020-21 season. Previously, the league has identified plans to begin the 2020-21 season on Tuesday, September 29th.
“We have indicated all along the importance of flexibility with our planning. All of our teams have completed their camps and identified their rosters as of September 15th. However at this time not all of our facilities are prepared to host game play by our previously identified date of September 29th,” says PJHL Commissioner Trevor Alto. “We had identified this as a possibility and our schedule was prepared to make the adjustment. Our facilities are our partners and we need to continue to work together. Our teams have done an excellent job adhering to all return to play guidelines and are prepared to start play at the appropriate time.”
The PJHL has adjusted the 2020-21 season to consist of a 36 game schedule. Teams will play in four separate cohorts consisting of three or four teams. In December, after the first 18 games, teams will then take a full league hiatus to quarantine for the second half where the cohorts will then be adjusted for the remainder of the season and playoffs.
“We recognize and respect that facilities are all opening at different times and expanding operations. In our scheduling we have allowed for this and have provided teams with the ability to begin play based on their own specific situation, keeping in mind their participation within cohorts,” adds Alto.
Teams will be permitted to begin exhibition play with league approval immediately. As of October 15th, should cohorts and facilities be ready, teams may be approved to begin regular season play. However, teams and cohorts will be able to extend their exhibition play to the end of October, should they choose to. All teams are set to begin league play by November 1st.
“This is basically allowing teams and facilities the flexibility to have a soft start to the season. Ice availability will be tight this year so it is important to allow teams to play regular season games as soon as they need to while also allowing others the ability for more exhibition play or the ability for their facilities a little more time to complete their return to play plans.
In the coming weeks, the PJHL will be releasing the first half of the 2020-21 regular season schedule. The remainder of the schedule and playoff format will be provided during the December quarantine period.