The Vernon Vipers will continue to play pre-season hockey.
Unlike some of their southern B.C. Hockey League counterparts.
Due to the restrictions put in place Saturday, Nov. 7, by the Provincial Health Office (PHO) regarding sporting events in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions, the BCHL cancelled all preseason games involving the Chilliwack Chiefs, Coquitlam Express, Langley Rivermen and Surrey Eagles for the next two weeks.
The Powell River Kings, who are included in the Vancouver Coastal region, had to postpone their preseason game Sunday afternoon, Nov. 8, against the Cowichan Valley Capitals. Powell River was originally exempt from the restrictions and the team and league are hoping for clarification on the ruling.
The PHO announced stricter restrictions in the two health regions due to a rise in cases of COVID-19. These restrictions include a two-week ban on sporting events. The league has cancelled seven games between Nov. 13 and 21.
The Vipers will continue with the Okanagan Cup playoffs this coming weekend.
Vernon (3-6-1-2), which finished third out of the four teams, will face the West Kelowna Warriors (7-4-0-1) in a Friday semifinal at Royal LePage Place. The Penticton Vees (11-1-0-0) ended up on top of the round-robin standings and will face the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (3-8-1-0) Friday at home.
The two winners will meet for the Okanagan Cup Saturday.
The Vees swept the Vipers in a home-and-home series to end the round-robin.
Penticton won 4-0 at Kal Tire Place Friday, Nov. 6, with Vees goalie Kaeden Lane stopping 25 shots for the shutout, and former Viper Tyler Ho scoring twice in the third period for Penticton. Koen MacInnes made 21 saves for the Vipers.
At the South Okanagan Events Centre Saturday, Vernon jumped out to a 2-0 lead only to watch the Vees score four unanswered goals on the way to a 6-3 win.
Tyler Carpendale had two goals for Vernon, JoJo Tanaka-Campbell had the other. while goalie Kobe Grant made 16 saves in taking the loss. Quinn Hutson had three goals for the Vees.
* Vernon hockey product Ben King has been loaned by the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels to the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters.
King was chosen in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft in 2017 by the Swift Current Broncos, and dealt to Red Deer in November 2019.
He’ll be on loan with the Smokies until WHL training camps open.