The Chilliwack Chiefs and Coquitlam Express will finally play games in early April as the BCHL squeezes in a shortened 20 game season. Just-announced provincial funding may help the junior A league offset financial losses caused by the COVID pandemic. (Darren Francis photo)

The Chilliwack Chiefs and Coquitlam Express will finally play games in early April as the BCHL squeezes in a shortened 20 game season. Just-announced provincial funding may help the junior A league offset financial losses caused by the COVID pandemic. (Darren Francis photo)

Province provides relief funding for amateur sport

The government is directing $15 million to teams/leagues impacted by the COVID pandemic

The provincial government is stepping up with a big funding promise for amateur leagues and teams hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the WHL and BCHL aren’t directly referenced in the news release announcing the $15 million relief fund, the money “will help amateur sports leagues and teams with operational costs, such as salaries, administrative costs, personal protective equipment, and the development of COVID-19 safety plans to ensure the safety of athletes and staff.”

Both leagues would fit that criteria.

The fund will be administered by viaSport and according to the release, focus on leagues and teams owned and operated in BC that do not pay athletes, and can demonstrate at least a 30 per cent loss in revenue due to the pandemic.

College/university teams aren’t eligible.

RELATED: BCHL requests financial aid from government as COVID-19 wreaks financial havoc

RELATED: B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

“We have heard from hockey leagues about the pandemic being a tough opponent,” said BC Premier John Horgan. “This new relief fund will help them and other amateur leagues to get through these challenging times. We want sports fans to be able once again to cheer for their favourite teams on the diamond, at the local arena and on the pitch once the pandemic is over.”

“B.C.-based amateur sport organizations play a vital role in developing athletes who represent B.C. in provincial, national and international competition,” added Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Some of these athletes have spent their whole lives working to get to this stage. This investment is another important measure our government is taking, so amateur athletes can continue to follow their dreams.”

The Local Sport Relief Fund is also helping, with $1.5 million in provincial and federal money going to 288 local sport organizations throughout BC. After seeing high demand for the first round of funding, a second round was launched earlier in March and applications are being accepted until April 30 at viasport.ca

“During the pandemic, the absence of sport has had a profound impact on participants, athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, organizations and communities,” said viaSport CEO Charlene Krepiakevich. “This funding will help fill the gap and support B.C.-based amateur sports leagues and teams that have been ineligible for provincial sport relief funding to date and are experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on

Local SportsProvincial GovernmentSports

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

Just Posted

Members of the Okanagan Screen Arts Society received a cheque for $1,500 Thursday, April 15, 2021. The funds are to help the society’s efforts as they prepare take over operation of the Vernon Towne Cinema at the end of July. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon dealership gives Towne Cinema a lift

Vernon Watkin Motor Ford, in business for more than 100 years, donated to the theatre with nearly as long a history

Interior Health’s overdose prevention site in Vernon is saving lives. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon’s controversial overdose prevention site saving lives

Site sees fewer problems than expected, but some still want it moved

Vernon Jubilee Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

The outbreak affected four staff, 10 patients and led to three deaths in just over two weeks

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

Vernon Girl Guide Mabel Smith sells cookies to staff at Watkin Motors Ford prior to the suspension of sales. (Facebook Photo)
Vernon Ford dealership shines with diamond award, again

Watkin Motors earns Ford of Canada president’s award for superior customer service

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The towns of Osoyoos and Oliver and the Osoyoos Indian Band are beginning to look into the feasibility of a regional aquatic centre. (Metro Creative Graphics)
South Okanagan leaders team up to get ball rolling on regional aquatic centre

Oliver and Osoyoos have long expressed desire for a year-round indoor aquatic centre

Most Read