The KIJHL is proceeding with this weekend’s scheduled games despite new COVID-19 restrictions. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The KIJHL is proceeding with this weekend’s scheduled games despite new COVID-19 restrictions. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

KIJHL proceeds with weekend games despite new COVID-19 restrictions

The league falls entirely within Interior Health and is already playing within four-team cohorts

The pucks will still drop this weekend for KIJHL games despite province-wide restrictions due to a surging second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement from the league indicates it is working to clarify what impact the rules banning non-essential travel would have on the league.

It states the KIJHL has made the health of athletes, staff, volunteers, billet families and fans a top priority since the pandemic began. It has done so by following guidelines laid out by the province, the provincial health officer, Viasport, Hockey Canada and BC Hockey.

Read More: Nix non-essential travel, stay home as much as possible as COVID 2nd wave surges: Trudeau

Read More: Vernon partygoers slapped with COVID fines: RCMP

According to the league, consultation with BC Hockey has led to an understanding that the restrictions impact travel outside of a team’s health region.

As all 17 teams participating in the 2020/21 KIJHL are from communities inside the Interior Health region, play will be proceeding. Travel has already been reduced by organizing the league into three- or four-team cohorts with no games scheduled outside the cohort.

The Spokane Braves, the league’s only team on the other side of the U.S. border, opted out of competing as did the 100 Mile House Wranglers and the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

Read More: Interior Health reports 28 new COVID-19 cases overnight

Read More: B.C. nurses plead with public to follow COVID-19 rules as hospitalizations climb

The league is supporting decisions made on a local level regarding access to team facilities. The Nov. 20 game scheduled for the Revelstoke Grizzlies and the Golden Rockets is being postponed as the Town of Golden seeks clarification on the new restrictions’ effects on the arena.

“We recognize that circumstances can change quickly, and we will update our plans should the restrictions in place change,” the statement reads.

“The KIJHL appreciates the patience and support of our fans, volunteers, billet families and sponsors as we navigate this process.”



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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