The BC Hockey League has reportedly reached a final deadline to salvage the 2020-21 season.
On Friday, BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb sent a letter to Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Premier John Horgan, and other government officials outlining the urgency of the situation, according to The Breaker.news publisher Bob Mackin.
“If (the) BCHL does not get the go-ahead by March 3 for its return-to-play plan, Hebb wrote that a motion will be prepared for team owners to vote March 4 to cancel the season,” adds Mackin.
The report also states that BCHL teams have pitched a 20-game season from March to May with pods of teams in five communities.
🚨EXCLUSIVE: @GoBCHL season could be cancelled March 4, if @DrBonnieHenry doesn't end the time out. Junior B league proposes 20-game season in five hubs. #bcpoli #SportsBiz #coronavirus #covid19 #hockey https://t.co/bMw1lndq28
— theBreaker.news (@theBreakerNews) February 27, 2021
In the league’s news release on Feb. 5 about the latest postponement, it mentioned the idea of a pod-based structure where a number of teams are located in one city for a given time period.
“We continue to work closely with the PHO on how we can safely resume play. This includes potential pods in select BCHL cities throughout the province,” stated Hebb.
In a Q&A with BCHLNetwork in December, Hebb noted March was likely the time when a decision would be made on the season.
“We think if we get into March, it’s going to be very difficult (to play a meaningful season). It’s really important (our players) get seen, especially the ones looking for scholarships. We want the scouts to be able to see them play in full-contact hockey. So it’s going to be a last-second decision if we decide to shut it down,” he said at that time.
When reached for reaction to Mackin’s report, Jesse Adamson, who is the BCHL’s coordinator, content services, said he couldn’t comment on it at this time.
The league initially announced a start date of Dec. 1 in July and pushed it back to Dec. 8 in November. On Dec. 8, it announced a postponement to Jan. 8. That day, the league mentioned a start no earlier than Feb. 6. Earlier this month, the start was delayed once again to March 1 at the absolute earliest.
Now it looks like the next few days are crucial to determining whether there will be a season at all.