Kamloops Blazers’ president, chief operating officer and alternate governor Don Moores is confident the truncated 2020-2021 WHL season will be completed in the new year.
“I believe the league understands and the owners understand there is a commitment to our players to play hockey,” Moores told KTW on Friday (Dec. 4). “As we’ve said many times before, for our players, they have a short window in their careers and it’s important that they play.”
The WHL’s Jan. 8 start date appears to be in jeopardy, with COVID-19 related restrictions tightening across Western Canada and the Canada-U.S. border expected to remain closed to all non-essential travel until “the virus is significantly more under control everywhere around the world,” according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“At this point, we’re still firm in that date and if we have to move from it, we’ll go from there,” Moores said. "We are still trying to remain fluid with it and watch what’s going on.
“I know our commissioner, Ron Robison, is working with all of the teams and governors, trying to get to a point where, if that date doesn’t work, what would work?”
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, cracked down on sports earlier this week, shutting down most indoor and outdoor sports indefinitely.
Ten to 15 per cent of all transmissions in B.C. are tied to sports or fitness-related activities, Henry said, noting it is not games, but the gatherings before and after, that are largely responsible for transmission.
Moores said WHL governors, business executives and general managers are meeting continuously in a concerted effort to put on a season that can be conducted safely.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League began play in early October, but has been beset by ongoing COVID-19 issues, leading to a decision last week to suspend all games until Jan. 3, 2021, at the earliest.
The Ontario Hockey League plans to open on Feb. 4.