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HomeBusinessCOVID Exclusive: BCHL warns unvaccinated players may be shut out of play in the upcoming season

COVID Exclusive: BCHL warns unvaccinated players may be shut out of play in the upcoming season

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Bob Mackin

When the puck drops on the next B.C. Hockey League season, unvaccinated players may not be allowed to take shots in some rinks.

theBreaker.news obtained a copy of the Junior A league’s executive committee memo sent to teams on Aug. 13.  It will be up to teams whether to mandate vaccinations against the coronavirus. But venues for practices and games are expected to have the final say. 

“The League is aware of a number of organizations that are investigating and implementing mandatory vaccination policies, including some arenas and facilities that teams may use,” said the executive committee memo. “Where this arises, unvaccinated staff and players will be unable to play, practice or participate. Based on current information, the League expects that more organizations will be moving to requiring that any persons seeking to enter or use their premises/facilities will have to be fully vaccinated.”

At least one venue is off-limits until further notice. Unvaccinated players and staff will be unable to travel to games in Wenatchee, Wash., due to current border crossing requirements.

Staff may be subject to fines for disobeying health and safety measures. Players may be subject to unspecified team and/or league discipline. Restrictions set by the Provincial Health Officer will also apply.

All personnel must provide government-approved proof of full vaccination 14 days prior to joining the team, be subject to daily screening questionnaires and provide proof of negative test before or upon arrival at main camp, after a significant absence from the team and on return from Christmas break. All information collected will be subject to the Personal Information Protection Act. 

Unvaccinated players must wear full-face shields. Unvaccinated coaching staff, trainers and other bench staff must wear a face mask on the bench at all times and wear facemarks when distancing is not possible at team meetings and gatherings, including any off-ice warmups, gyms and dressing rooms, buses and community events.

Fully vaccinated players may wear any on-ice facial protection — a half-shield visor, full cage or full face shield. All players and staff must distance wherever possible.

Any player or staffer with symptoms or who has been exposed will bear the costs of quarantine and testing.

Teams played abbreviated 20-game seasons in a regional pod format last winter and spring. 

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