A Nelson Leafs player takes a shot on a Beaver Valley Nitehawks goaltender during the 2020 playoffs. The KIJHL announced Saturday it was cancelling the 2020-21 season. Photo: Jim Bailey/Trail Times

A Nelson Leafs player takes a shot on a Beaver Valley Nitehawks goaltender during the 2020 playoffs. The KIJHL announced Saturday it was cancelling the 2020-21 season. Photo: Jim Bailey/Trail Times

B.C. junior hockey league cancels season due to extended COVID-19 restrictions

It’s the second straight season the KIJHL has had to shut down prematurely

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has cancelled its season after provincial health orders restricting recreation were extended Friday through at least the end of February.

League commissioner Jeff Dubois said in a statement released Saturday that timeline doesn’t work for a league that holds its playoffs in March and early April before arenas throughout B.C. remove ice for the spring and summer.

“We are disappointed for our players, team staff, volunteers, sponsors, game officials and fans that the 2020-21 season will not be completed,” said Dubois. “Over the past number of months we have made every effort possible to keep our athletes on the ice and to give all of them, and especially our graduating 20 year olds, the opportunity to compete for a league championship.”

Dubois said clubs are still allowed to train and he left open a possibility of exhibition games this season, however unlikely that may be as the province tries to contain variants of COVID-19.

“I’d like to thank all of our stakeholders for their patience and understanding during a difficult and challenging season,” said Dubois. “Our athletes and team staff have done a tremendous job of keeping everyone safe, and our billet families deserve special recognition for welcoming players into their homes during this pandemic. We look forward to returning to the ice this fall and getting back to the game we all love.”

The Junior B league barely had a chance to begin play before it was shut down. Some teams, such as the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, opted out of the season before it began, while the Spokane Braves were forced to bow out due to the Canada-United States land border restriction on non-essential travel.

The defending champion Revelstoke Grizzlies meanwhile had already announced their season was over Feb. 1 after members of the team tested positive for COVID-19.

The 17 teams that did play only participated in two-to-four regular season games in November before it was put on a hiatus that ended Saturday.

It’s the second straight season the KIJHL has been forced to cancel play. In March 2020, the provincial lockdown forced the league to suspend the season in the middle of the playoffs.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Thieves pilfer trailer, camera, tools, cigarettes and cleaning supplies

Parksville, Nanoose Bay feature prominently among 226 complaints to Oceanside RCMP

Mary Ellen Campbell, president of the Parksville Museum, visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: A chat with Parksville Museum president Mary Ellen Campbell

Podcast: Talk includes plans for 2021, dealing with COVID-19 and more

Eaglecrest Golf Club plans to operate as a nine-hole course starting April 1. (Eaglecrest Facebook photo)
Eaglecrest Golf Club in Qualicum Beach still plans to have course layout reduced to 9 holes

Town council continues to negotiate lease for 18-hole operation

A rendering of a proposed housing development located across from the beachfront in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Multi-residential development planned across from Qualicum Beach waterfront

Residents raise variety of concerns about project

Proprietor of Sweet Truck, Morgan Ray, as she hands off her baked goods to a customer. (Photo courtesy of Avrinder Dhillon Photography)
COVID-19: Qualicum Beach baker eyes move back from food truck to bricks and mortar

Storefront offers more stability amid growth in sales: Ray

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communities across Vancouver Island.
UPDATED: Poster popping up in Island communities falsely claiming COVID restrictions are over

Unattributed poster claims COVID restrictions ended March 1; Island Health responds

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

Most Read