The B.C. Hockey League’s lone American entry is pulling the plug on the 2020-21 season.
The Wenatchee Wild announced Tuesday, Nov. 24, that the franchise is taking a hiatus due to complications caused by the closure of the American-Canadian border and restrictions put in place by the State of Washington due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Wild have released all players on their roster to give them an opportunity to play elsewhere this year.
“This is a sad day for the Wenatchee Wild organization,” said team general manager Bliss Littler. “We feel for our players, housing families, fans, season ticket holders, corporate sponsors and the Town Toyota Center. It’s not a good day for any of us. This will hurt for a while for sure, but I know we will get through this and we will be back better than ever for the 2021-2022 season.”
The BCHL announced Monday, Nov. 23, that they have delayed the start of their 2020-21 regular season to Dec. 8. The league will announce a schedule with the 17 other franchises in the coming weeks.
“The BCHL is very sad that circumstances beyond the control of our valued franchise, the Wenatchee Wild, have caused this shutdown,” said chairman of the BCHL board of governors, Graham Fraser. “We wish Bliss Littler and his staff the very best as they get to work on getting back on the ice for the 2021-22 season.”
The Wild joined the BCHL for the 2015-16 season. In just their third season in the league, Wenatchee captured its first Fred Page Cup championship in the 2017-18 season and went on to play in the RBC Cup national championship tournament.
The Vernon Vipers eliminated the Wild in five games in the best-of-seven first round of the 2020 BCHL Fred Page Cup playoffs before the season was shut down due to the pandemic.