The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) has put a freeze on all regular season play until Dec. 8 at the earliest, following the latest province-wide restrictions due to COVID-19.
On Friday, Nov. 20 the league announced it would proceed with games over the weekend, but in a reversal of that decision based on new parameters from ViaSport, those games have now been postponed.
On Thursday Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced sweeping restrictions in response to the surging pandemic, including an advisory against non-essential travel.
“We have been working hard to clarify their impact on our league,” the KIJHL said of the new restrictions in a statement Saturday.
The public health order also extended B.C.’s ban on large gatherings for two weeks, or until Dec. 7. The KIJHL’s two-week pause aligns with the timeline of the province-wide restrictions, though the statement from the league indicates the Dec. 8 resumption of play could be pushed back depending on how
“We recognize that circumstances can change quickly, and we will update our plans as soon as new information becomes available,” the league’s statement reads.
ViaSport outlined new parameters Friday evening, which include restrictions on travel between different communities.
“The increase in COVID-19 in B.C. is very concerning and we must all do our part to flatten the curve,” viaSport’s announcement reads. “The verbal PHO Order provides new restrictions on what we can do as individuals and what the role sport can play in keeping ourselves and our communities safe.”
Other Phase 3 activities such as practices may continue provided they adhere to viaSport’s Return to Play policies, the league said.
Twelve teams were in action Friday, Nov. 20, prior to the latest announcement. Fourteen were on the schedule, but the game between the Revelstoke Grizzlies and Golden Rockets was postponed as the Town of Golden awaited clarification on the provincial health order.