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

Friends have identified the man killed in Friday’s shooting in Metchosin as Shane Wilson. (Shane Wilson/Facebook)
West Shore RCMP continue to investigate shooting death in Metchosin

Man killed on Sooke Road Friday night identified by friends

Fire Chief Darren Hughes, right, pulls the old Firemans Park sign off ahead of the parks name change. The new sign for Firefighters Park is coming. (Oak Bay Fire Department Twitter)
Oak Bay changes the name of Fireman’s Park

New sign for Firefighter’s Park on the way

The WHL’s Victoria Royals will compete in a 24-game season starting March 26, <strong></strong>based out of a Kamloops and Kelowna B.C. division bubble (Kevin Light/Courtesy Victoria Royals)
‘Important to cherish every moment’: Victoria Royals not taking bubble season for granted

The Victoria WHL team’s coach and GM calls the season a ‘privilege,’ expects fierce rivalries

The Victoria Fire Department was able to contain a fire to one room after a bed placed directly against a heater ignited. (Black Press Media file photo)
Early morning Victoria balcony fire causes $20,000 in damages

Victoria Fire Department said nobody was injured in the fire on View Street

Postmark Group, an Edmonton-based development firm, bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year, and is reaching out to the community and local groups for feedback before they begin planning the designs for the development. (Photo contributed/Postmark Group)
Waterfront village development eyed for Sooke

Postmark Group development firm bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year

Const. Nancy Saggar, who has 11 years in policing, offers advice for other women who may pursue both policing and family. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pregnancy prompts sage advice from RCMP officer for women thinking about policing

West Shore constable with 11 years experience heads off on maternity leave

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Most Read