No changes coming to WHL’s Regina hub despite spike in COVID-19 cases

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The Saskatchewan government remains confident in its decision to allow Regina to act as a hub for the Western Hockey League’s East Division.

On Tuesday, the province announced it was tightening up COVID-19 restrictions surrounding private indoor gatherings in the Queen City as cases continue to spike.

Read more: Remaining 2020-21 season for Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League shelved

It included that any non-essential indoor locations that have limits of 30 individuals are required to close as of Sunday.

Although the number of people inside the Brandt Centre during games exceeds 30 people, no changes are being made.

“So far, the (WHL) hub is working successfully. They’re working closely with public health officials in the city, the City of Regina and the University of Regina,” said Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer on Tuesday.

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“It’s a very professional approach that they’ve deployed and it’s working well.”

Read more: Regina Pats look to find groove following slow start to WHL season

The province reported 116 new cases of COVID-19 in Regina on Wednesday, bringing the total number of active cases in the Queen City to 844.

“The hub exists in the city that unfortunately now is seeing high rates so everyone needs to be diligent,” Shahab said.

Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) announced Tuesday that return-to-play submissions made to the province’s government and health officials were not successful, forcing them to cancel its 2020-21 season.

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“In part, the current conditions of COVID-19 in the province of Saskatchewan do not appear to allow a return to play, now or in the next few weeks,” read a SJHL press release on Tuesday.

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“SJHL will now turn its focus on returning to play in September of 2021 and having a complete season ending with the crowning of the Saskatchewan Jr Hockey League champion.”

The WHL’s East Division is made up of five Saskatchewan teams and two Manitoba teams.

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