BCHL team can now practise together in full, after a revision to the provincial health order on Dec. 28. (Garrett James photo)

BCHL team can now practise together in full, after a revision to the provincial health order on Dec. 28. (Garrett James photo)

BCHL teams can practise together following revised health-order

Junior ‘A’ league commissioner still hopeful a season can be staged this year

Just a few days after BC Hockey League commissioner Chris Hebb penned a letter to the league’s fans thanking them for their continued patience and support – while noting that the current restrictions “have made things difficult for us,” – the province has adjusted its restrictions that kept some players off the ice.

On Monday, viaSport announced that the province has modified its rules around adult sports, allowing junior hockey players 22 and under to practise together. Under the previous rules, junior players aged 19-21 had been banned from training with their younger teammates, as the November-issued health order lumped those older players in with other adults playing recreational sports, which were suspended under the order.

With those health orders in place, the league announced in late November it was pushing the start of its new season into January, from its previous start date of mid-December.

The revised rules have changed “adult team sport” – which previously lumped in the older juniors – to now read as “group sport” and does not include “sport for children or youth, varsity sport or high-performance athlete sport.”

“Group sport (i.e. sport for those 22 years of age or older) is only permitted in groups of up to two people (e.g. singles tennis or an athlete and a coach training session). Outdoor group sport is only permitted in groups of up to four people (e.g. four individuals may run together or four individuals could run soccer drills),” the statement from viaSport reads.

• READ ALSO: New COVID-19 restrictions ground Surrey Eagles All-Star Challenge

Individuals are allowed to travel to their home club “for the purpose of sport” and those determined to be “high performance athletes” in other sports, not just hockey, have also received an exemption, under viaSport’s revised conditions.

The move means that BCHL, Western Hockey League and junior ‘B’ teams can resume full-team practices now that the holiday break is coming to a close.

On Christmas Eve, Hebb, a Semiahmoo Peninsula resident, posted a letter on the BCHL’s website thanking fans and others involved in the league for their patience, while also noting that “although there have been numerous obstacles along the way, we continue to be committed to this goal and will push forward with the best interests of our players and fans in mind.”

Hebb expressed optimism that the league would be able to start up with games “sooner rather than later” as a result of the ongoing vaccine roll-out and the league’s “effective safety plan.” Between late summer, when teams began gathering for an extended training camp, and mid-November, there were just two reported COVID-19 cases in the BCHL – one in Surrey, and one involving the Penticton Vees.

The league’s continued stance has been that it intends to play a regular-season in some form, albeit an abbreviated one.

“We know everyone is looking for certainty, but unfortunately, in a pandemic, that is in short supply… We are not here to give false hope, but we feel that waiting it out, rather than throwing in the towel, is the best chance we have,” Hebb writes.

The current provincial health order expires Jan. 8.

On Dec. 30, a new statement on the BCHL’s website said the league will wait until that date “to see if any other restrictions are lifted that will allow the BCHL to commence its regular season later in the month.”



sports@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCHLSurrey Eagles

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Armstrong’s Jesse Crowe, shown at the home of golf, St. Andrew’s in Scotland, has been named the Royal York Golf Course’s director of golf operations. (Facebook photo)
Armstrong golf pro soars to home course position

Jesse Crowe becomes director of golf operations at Royal York Golf Course

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
Despite additional death, COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional loss in last day

Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Shuswap firefighters responding to structure blaze find cannabis grow operation

RCMP investigating, attempting to track down owner of property

Two North Okanagan-Shuswap rural communities, including Lumby, will receive B.C. government grants to support new jobs and economic opportunities to help them recover from the impacts of COVID-19. (Black Press file photo)
North Okanagan-Shuswap communities collect government grants

Lumby and Blind Bay to benefit to help recover from economic impact of COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

(Stock photo)
EDITORIAL: The freedom to read

Books have been challenged many times in the past

The dam at Thirsk Lake, west of Summerland, was expanded in 2007. A crack has now been discovered where the old and new portions of the dam meet. (Summerland Review file photo)
Crack at Thirsk Dam to be examined

Reservoir west of Summerland was expanded in 2007

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

The Penticton Speedway has been sold but the investment group who bought it is planning to create an enhanced racetrack and racing experience. (File photo)
Penticton Speedway sold and will remain a racetrack

Investment group that includes founder of Area 27 intends to buy the Speedway

Most Read