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Coronavirus: British Columbia Hockey League still awaiting word on return to play proposal

Click to play video: 'BCHL hoping to return to play' BCHL hoping to return to play
BCHL hoping to return to play – Mar 8, 2021
After the British Columbia Hockey League’s board of governors postponed any decisions with regards to a 2020-21 season on Friday, the league remains in limbo.
The junior hockey league is awaiting word from the provincial government on whether or not they can return to play.
“Waiting is exactly what we have all been doing,” Penticton Vees’ head coach Fred Harbinson told Global News.
According to Harbinson, right now everything that the league is doing is for its players.
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“We are hopeful that if we do it in a safe environment with the right protocols, we can give them something back,” Harbinson said of a possible 2020-21 BCHL season.
Players, coaches and general managers remain cautiously optimistic that the BCHL is capable of dealing with a number concerns raised by B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry with the league’s return to play protocols.
“I know our governors are working hard to find a resolution that works with the health authority,” said Chris Laurie, president of the West Kelowna Warriors.
“There’s a lot of variables in play. I mean, we have 17 teams across the province, the WHL has only five, so it’s a little more complicated.”
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One of the biggest differences between the WHL and the BCHL’s return to play proposals are the number of  hub cities involved.
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While the WHL will play out of Kamloops and Kelowna, the BCHL’s proposal is said to include five hub cities, located in several different health regions across the province.
Still, BCHL players are hoping they’ll be granted the opportunity to return to play like WHL players.
“If they are able to get the green light to play then I feel like we have proven that we should be able to play safely as well,”  said Penticton Vees captain Fin Williams.
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Like in major junior hockey, BCHL players are hoping to take the next big step in their hockey careers.
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“It’s tough. Guys are looking for scholarships and opportunities for next year and it’s really hard not to be able to prove ourselves in a game setting,” Williams added.
Harbinson and Laurie both anticipate that a decision could come down from the provincial government sometime this week.
“We are kinda hoping that it follows suit and that we get an opportunity to play is some fashion,” Harbison said.

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