Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix didn’t provide a live briefing of COVID-19 on Wednesday afternoon, and as such, media were unable to directly ask the two any questions – including those inquiring about the BC Hockey League latest movement to get the season started.
Not only did public health officials provide just a written statement on the province’s COVID-19 situation, but BCHLNetwork has learned that they also didn’t contact the BCHL at all regarding the return-to-play plan.
The BCHL was reportedly told that officials are still discussing the plan and would contact the league regarding a decision.
According to a letter sent to Henry, Premier John Horgan, and others last Friday by BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb, Wednesday represented a deadline for a decision from the government and sport authorities on the pod-based BCHL return-to-play plan.
The letter stated that if the “BCHL pods” plan wasn’t approved before the deadline, a motion would be prepared for the league’s board of governors to vote on Thursday to cancel the season.
However, BCHLNetwork received word late this afternoon that a motion or vote to cancel is pushed to Friday to give the league an extra day to deliberate after the self-imposed deadline.
The ball is in the government’s court (so to speak)
It comes on the heels of Tuesday’s briefing in which Henry said she has concerns with the BCHL’s current pod-based return-to-play scenario.
“(It) is still in the consultation process and there have been a number of concerns identified – I’ll be blunt about that – that need to be addressed before that can happen safely.”
The most recent version of the BCHL’s return-to-play plan, including pods of teams playing games in five communities around the province, has been in the government’s hands since Feb. 12, according to an outline of communication between the league and health authorities acquired by BCHLNetwork on Wednesday morning.
Henry and Dix are scheduled to give a live update on Thursday at 2 pm, which is an hour earlier than their usual time of 3 pm. No doubt the BCHL and its 17 BC-based teams will watch to see if their latest proposal is given the green light or if time has run out on a 2020-21 season.