(Files by Brendan Pawliw-MyPGNow)
It’s game on finally for the Prince George Spruce Kings.
Today, the BCHL Board of Governors approved a shortened 2020-21 season after the Provincial Health Office (PHO) accepted the league’s proposal for a safe return to play.
The league will operate in a “pod” model where three to four teams will play each other in five different locations across the province.
The tentative plan is for the Spruce Kings to play in Chilliwack (with a schedule anticipated to be of 18 or 20 games),.
“After months and months of hard work behind the scenes by the league’s Return-to-Play Task Force, we are pleased to make the announcement today that the BCHL will be back on the ice to play the 2020-21 season,” said BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb.
“This entire process has always been about our players and giving them the best chance to get back to playing games and showcasing their skills, and we have accomplished that today.”
The condensed season will begin the first week of April.
“It’s been a long road for everyone involved with the league since we were shut down in November, but we are grateful that we get a chance to finish what we started and get our young athletes back on the ice.”
The BCHL has hired a Chief Medical Officer who will oversee all COVID-19 safety protocols for the five-week season, including testing and a quarantine period for players and team staff.
“At the end of the day, our league is all about getting players scholarships and moving them on to the next level to allow them to pursue their athletic and educational goals,” said BCHL Executive Director Steven Cocker.
“With no games since November, it has been difficult for these players to get noticed by college programs and, as a result, we’ve seen a significant effect on the number of college commitments in the league this year. With a shortened season now in place, we are thrilled to get our players back in the spotlight and give them the attention they deserve.”
A full schedule will be released in the coming weeks along with details on the pod locations.