BCHL team can now practise together in full, after a revision to the provincial health order on Dec. 28. (Garrett James photo)

BCHL team can now practise together in full, after a revision to the provincial health order on Dec. 28. (Garrett James photo)

BCHL teams can practise together following revised health-order

Junior ‘A’ league commissioner still hopeful a season can be staged this year

Just a few days after BC Hockey League commissioner Chris Hebb penned a letter to the league’s fans thanking them for their continued patience and support – while noting that the current restrictions “have made things difficult for us,” – the province has adjusted its restrictions that kept some players off the ice.

On Monday, viaSport announced that the province has modified its rules around adult sports, allowing junior hockey players 22 and under to practise together. Under the previous rules, junior players aged 19-21 had been banned from training with their younger teammates, as the November-issued health order lumped those older players in with other adults playing recreational sports, which were suspended under the order.

With those health orders in place, the league announced in late November it was pushing the start of its new season into January, from its previous start date of mid-December.

The revised rules have changed “adult team sport” – which previously lumped in the older juniors – to now read as “group sport” and does not include “sport for children or youth, varsity sport or high-performance athlete sport.”

“Group sport (i.e. sport for those 22 years of age or older) is only permitted in groups of up to two people (e.g. singles tennis or an athlete and a coach training session). Outdoor group sport is only permitted in groups of up to four people (e.g. four individuals may run together or four individuals could run soccer drills),” the statement from viaSport reads.

• READ ALSO: New COVID-19 restrictions ground Surrey Eagles All-Star Challenge

Individuals are allowed to travel to their home club “for the purpose of sport” and those determined to be “high performance athletes” in other sports, not just hockey, have also received an exemption, under viaSport’s revised conditions.

The move means that BCHL, Western Hockey League and junior ‘B’ teams can resume full-team practices now that the holiday break is coming to a close.

On Christmas Eve, Hebb, a Semiahmoo Peninsula resident, posted a letter on the BCHL’s website thanking fans and others involved in the league for their patience, while also noting that “although there have been numerous obstacles along the way, we continue to be committed to this goal and will push forward with the best interests of our players and fans in mind.”

Hebb expressed optimism that the league would be able to start up with games “sooner rather than later” as a result of the ongoing vaccine roll-out and the league’s “effective safety plan.” Between late summer, when teams began gathering for an extended training camp, and mid-November, there were just two reported COVID-19 cases in the BCHL – one in Surrey, and one involving the Penticton Vees.

The league’s continued stance has been that it intends to play a regular-season in some form, albeit an abbreviated one.

“We know everyone is looking for certainty, but unfortunately, in a pandemic, that is in short supply… We are not here to give false hope, but we feel that waiting it out, rather than throwing in the towel, is the best chance we have,” Hebb writes.

The current provincial health order expires Jan. 8.

On Dec. 30, a new statement on the BCHL’s website said the league will wait until that date “to see if any other restrictions are lifted that will allow the BCHL to commence its regular season later in the month.”



sports@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCHLSurrey Eagles

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dyllan Petrin is charged related to an ongoing investigation in Surrey involving a kidnapping and assault that occurred in July, 2019. (Photo: Surrey RCMP)
Man arrested in connection to kidnapping, murder investigations: Surrey RCMP

Police say Dyllan Petrin was arrested in Vancouver

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey chief constable says ‘comprehensive’ public engagement to be done this year

Norm Lipinski says Surrey Police Service has ‘good momentum’

Surrey-raised forward Jujhar Khaira in action with Edmonton Oilers. (Photo: nhl.com)
Q&A: Surrey’s Jujhar Khaira credits parents for their hard work on his path to NHL

Port Kells-raised player talks about his journey to pro hockey with Edmonton Oilers

The interventional oncology team at Surrey Memorial Hospital. The Surrey Hospitals Foundation has invested in innovative technologies to kickstart a new Interventional Oncology service at Surrey Memorial Hospital. (Submitted photo: Yvonne Chiang)
Surrey Memorial home to machines for ‘minimally invasive’ cancerous tumours treatments

Technology can freeze, burn tumours without need for surgery

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Snow is forecasted to appear in parts of Metro Vancouver this weekend. (Black Press Media files)
Snow forecasted for parts of Lower Mainland this weekend

Environment Canada is predicting flurries and snow from Saturday to Monday evening

Most Read