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Coronavirus: KIJHL intends to apply for financial support

Kayson Gallant scores a goal against the Spokane Braves, the lone KIJHL organization south of the border.
Kayson Gallant scores a goal against the Spokane Braves, the lone KIJHL organization south of the border. KIJHL

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League says it will be seeking financial assistance from provincial and federal governments.

The league says due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has sustained massive financial losses.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: B.C. Hockey League seeking financial help from province to offset ‘major losses’

The 20-team league said it’ll be looking to the provincial government for support, and that it will also be trying to receive funds from a federal $500 million program, aimed at supporting Canadian arts, culture, and sports organizations.

“Our league has been operating for more than 50 years and our teams make a huge impact in their communities, both on and off the ice,” KIJHL commissioner Jeff Dubois said in a press release on the league’s website. 

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Dubois continued to explain that without financial assistance, the league may not be able to continue.

“When it comes to quantifying the negative financial impact on our league and teams, it’s clear we’re feeling the effects in a number of different areas,” Dubois said.

READ MORE: Hlinka Gretzky Cup hockey tournament cancelled because of COVID-19 pandemic

In March, the eight remaining teams involved in the Teck Cup playoffs lost significant revenue due to the cancellation of the remainder of the season, according to the league.

“When you put all of that together, the impact at the individual team level could very well be in the tens of thousands of dollars,” said Dubois. 

“When you factor in all 20 teams in our league, it wouldn’t be a stretch to project an overall impact of a million dollars or more.”

The KIJHL said it’s keeping a close eye on the latest information from Hockey Canada and health authorities to determine when teams can get back to on-ice activities.

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The league said it hopes the next season can start on time, but only if it’s safe to do so.

Dubois says he wants to make it clear that the health and safety of the league’s players, staff, volunteers, sponsors, and fans is the No. 1 priority in every decision the KIJHL makes.

“We’re hopeful that we can proceed with a full 2020-21 season beginning in September, but there are a number of hurdles to clear before we get to that point,” said Dubois.

“We’re thinking positively, because we know everybody involved with our league wants to be back on the ice. But we’re also planning ahead in case the season is delayed, or the financial challenges put us in a spot where plans have to change on the fly.”

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Montreal turns hockey arena into field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients' Coronavirus outbreak: Montreal turns hockey arena into field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients
Coronavirus outbreak: Montreal turns hockey arena into field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients