Advertisement

Kelowna Chiefs disappointed after junior hockey leagues cancels regular season, playoffs

Click to play video: 'Kelowna Chiefs disappointed after junior hockey leagues cancels regular season, playoffs' Kelowna Chiefs disappointed after junior hockey leagues cancels regular season, playoffs
After Friday's provincial government decision to continue the ban on social gatherings and events in B.C., the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has decided to cancel their regular season and playoffs completely. As Travis Lowe reports, Monday at the Kelowna Chiefs' practice, players and coaches were disappointed but not exactly shocked. – Feb 8, 2021

In November 2020, the Kootenay International Hockey League, or KIJHL, was forced to put their season on hold after only a week and a half of gameplay.

Now, the B.C junior hockey league has been forced to cancel the season and the playoffs altogether.

“We are faced with the reality of arenas removing their ice for the spring and summer, and that leaves us unable to plan for a meaningful conclusion to our season,” KIJHL commissioner Jeff Dubois said.

The league announced the decision Saturday on the heels of the provincial government’s decision to  extend its ban on social gatherings and events in B.C. indefinitely.

Read more: Coronavirus: Junior hockey league in B.C. cancels regular season, playoffs

On Monday, as the Chiefs took to the ice to practice, the mood was one of quiet resignation.

Story continues below advertisement

“We kind of all knew something was coming,” said Kelowna Chiefs head coach Ken Law.

That ‘something’ was the cancellation of the KIJHL season.

“We made the decision following the provincial announcement to cancel the remainder of our season,” said Dubois.

“Which means that our regular season will not resume and we won’t have a playoffs or a championship.”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: BCHL, WHL requesting relief funding from provincial government' Coronavirus: BCHL, WHL requesting relief funding from provincial government
Coronavirus: BCHL, WHL requesting relief funding from provincial government – Jan 22, 2021

 

Nobody on the ice at Monday’s Chiefs practice was surprised by the decision.

“We kept on getting delayed so it kind of seemed like it was coming, but I mean we were trying to stay, hopefully,” said Chiefs veteran Jordon Woytas.

Story continues below advertisement

But Friday’s indefinite extension of the provincial health order dealt a swift blow to that hopefulness.

Click to play video: 'Kelowna Rockets hopeful for WHL’s promised 24-game season' Kelowna Rockets hopeful for WHL’s promised 24-game season
Kelowna Rockets hopeful for WHL’s promised 24-game season – Jan 13, 2021

“I’m not too shocked, we all kinda had it going on in the back of our head that this was potentially an outcome.” said Chiefs’ captain Marshall Porteous.

Still, for the team’s 20-year-old players who are about to age out of junior hockey, it’s a tough pill to swallow.

“I mean, I did have my hopes up and I’m not going to say I’m not let down a little bit,” Porteous said.

“It’s tough that I couldn’t have had my last season but I’m hoping to play on next year in university hockey, so it’s not the end of world,”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Junior hockey teams in Okanagan impacted by B.C.’s new public health orders' Coronavirus: Junior hockey teams in Okanagan impacted by B.C.’s new public health orders
Coronavirus: Junior hockey teams in Okanagan impacted by B.C.’s new public health orders – Nov 24, 2020

That sentiment seemed to be the consensus amongst coach Ken Law’s Chiefs, who say they are committed to making the most out of a bad situation.

Story continues below advertisement

“We are going to stay, keep practicing, keep working on skills, individual skills and drills,” Law said.

It’s an effort to help the players further their goals in the game.

“A lot of the guys are still pretty excited to be here for a Monday practice and that’s all that really matters,” Porteous said.

Sponsored content