KIJHL pauses season

·2 min read

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) is putting their season on pause following new public health measures and guidance from the province.

The KIJHL provided an update on league operations following the provincial health orders issued Nov. 19 and later clarification provided by Viasport, a B.C. government non-profit sports organization, on Nov. 20.

"In light of the new parameters outlined on Friday evening by Viasport, which include restrictions concerning travel between different communities, the KIJHL will pause all regular season game play beginning Saturday, Nov. 21. Under the current Provincial Health Order, competition between teams cannot resume until Monday, Dec. 8 at the earliest. Other Phase 3 activities, including team practices, may proceed so long as they adhere to all aspects of the KIJHL’s Return to Play policies," says a statement on the KIJHL website dated Nov. 21.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the KIJHL says it has made the health and safety of athletes, staff, volunteers, billet families and fans a top priority and the league is closely observing all of the guidance and protocols outlined by the province, Viasport, Hockey Canada and BC Hockey and team’s home facilities. Teams had been sorted into "cohorts" grouped together to reduce travel and exposure to other groups.

The Osoyoos Coyotes had played three games thus far this season, with a record of one win, one loss and one overtime loss, sitting at third place in the Neil Murdoch Division.

"On Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced additional province-wide restrictions, and we have been working hard to clarify their impact on our league," the statement from KIJHL says.

"We recognize that circumstances can change quickly, and we will update our plans as soon as new information becomes available. The KIJHL appreciates the patience and support of our fans, volunteers, billet families and sponsors as we navigate this process."

Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle