The Kerry Park Islanders and Peninsula Panthers battle during a Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League game in November 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

The Kerry Park Islanders and Peninsula Panthers battle during a Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League game in November 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League hasn’t given up on season

Games can’t resume until at least February, but league brass still hopeful

The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League is still hoping to finish the 2020-21 season, although it is uncertain at this point what the rest of the season might look like.

The junior B league launched the regular season last October, and teams managed to play between 11 and 13 games before the rest of the schedule was postponed in mid-November due to COVID-19 restrictions. The return to action has been delayed multiple times as restrictions have been extended, but the league isn’t ready to deep-six the season yet.

“At this time we are working closely with BC Hockey in conjunction with viaSport and are in early discussions around plans for the remainder of the season,” VIJHL president Simon Morgan said in an email on Wednesday, January 13. “We anticipate an announcement over the next couple weeks.”

As of early January, the league had planned to resume play on Jan. 15, but an extension of COVID-related restrictions late last week meant the games would have to wait until February. The current health order remains in effect until Feb. 5.

READ MORE: Junior B hockey games resume on Vancouver Island Jan. 15, pending provincial announcements

In 2019-20, the regular season of 48 games for each team came to an end on Feb. 22, and playoffs were underway soon after that, so the league will have a short window if play does resume next month. The 2021 Cyclone Taylor Cup provincial junior B champioship has already been cancelled by BC Hockey.

VIJHL