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HomeBusinessExclusive: B.C. Hockey League season on thin ice, if Dr. Bonnie Henry doesn’t end the time out

Exclusive: B.C. Hockey League season on thin ice, if Dr. Bonnie Henry doesn’t end the time out

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Bob Mackin

The B.C. Hockey League is on the cusp of cancelling it’s season, if B.C. NDP government officials do not approve an amended season proposal by March 3.

“We are simply out of time and can’t make our players and their parents wait any longer,” wrote Chris Hebb, commissioner of the Junior A league, in a Feb. 26 letter obtained by theBreaker.news. “The clock has run out.”

BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb (LinkedIn)

Hebb’s letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry, Premier John Horgan and other officials calls it a “last-ditch effort to get our players back on the ice” during the coronavirus pandemic. If BCHL does not get the go ahead by March 3 for the its return-to-play plan, Hebb wrote that a motion will be prepared for team owners to vote March 4 to cancel the season.

BCHL owners want to play a 20-game season before the end of May with hubs (or pods, as Hebb calls them) in five communities. Hebb’s letter says BCHL teams would need an exemption from the mass gathering order so that they could travel by bus to play in one of the five hub communities.

“These trips would be strictly from facility to facility, with absolutely no stops along the way,” he wrote. “Similar to the [major junior] Western Hockey League’s submission for a hub in Kamloops and Kelowna, we believe we have a good plan.”

The 17-team BCHL hasn’t played since Nov. 19, when Henry banned sports-related travel within B.C. and banned youth team sports competitions. 

“Our 17 community arenas have been very patient, but they need to know if we are playing, as summer programs are pressing in,” Hebb wrote. “Our fans need to know if we are going to play, so they can support their home teams. The NHL and college scouts need to know if we are going to play, so they can create opportunities for the 400 players in the BCHL. But, mostly, our players need to know if they can do what they were born to do – play hockey.”

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