WHL's B.C. Division granted return-to-play approval, with hubs in Kamloops, Kelowna

Action will begin on Friday, March 26, with each team slated to play a 24-game schedule, which will be released at a later date

The Western Hockey League has been granted approval by the Provincial Health Office to begin B.C. Division play, with hub centres in Kamloops and Kelowna.

Action will begin on Friday, March 26, with each team slated to play a 24-game schedule, which will be released at a later date.

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The Kamloops Blazers, Vancouver Giants and Prince George Cougars will be based in Kamloops and play out of Sandman Centre. The Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals will be in Kelowna and play out of Prospera Place.

Clubs are permitted to travel directly between each hub for game play, with no stops permitted between the two cities.

Teams will begin self-quarantining on Saturday, March 6, and report to their respective hubs a week later.

Players and staff will undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival, followed by an additional quarantine period. Team activity can begin after a second negative COVID-19 test.

WHL clubs are committed to providing private PCR testing through DynaLIFE Medical Labs to ensure no additional strain is placed on public health, according to a press release from the WHL. All private testing conducted in the B.C. Division will be processed and analyzed at DynaLIFE’s laboratory in Edmonton.

The WHL will implement an ongoing weekly private PCR testing strategy. If a WHL club has one or more players or staff test positive for COVID-19 at any point in the season, the club will be required to suspend activities for a minimum of 14 days.

Enhanced screening for all WHL players, team staff and officials will also take place on a daily basis, including regular temperature screenings and symptom monitoring through the WHL Athlete RMS Mobile Application.

Masks must be worn by all WHL players at all times, with the exception of when participating on ice for games and practices. Coaches will be required to wear masks at all times, including while conducting practice and while behind the bench during games.

As the WHL returns to play in the B.C. Division, no spectators will be permitted to enter WHL facilities. Fans can take in all the action on WHL Live on CHL TV, including freeview opportunities for each club’s home-opening game.

B.C. is the last of the league’s six jurisdictions to receive return-to-play approval.

The Central Division began play on Feb. 26, while the East Division Hub Centre in Regina starts on March 12 and the U.S. Division begins play on March 19.

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