The BC Hockey League (BCHL) is pushing back the start of their regular season following new orders from the Provincial Health Office (PHO).

When determining their plans for the season, the BCHL targeted  December 2nd as the start of their regular season. Now, that is being moved to December 8th in order to accommodate the new orders from the Province against team travel.

“If the PHO extends their current restrictions beyond Dec. 7, we have the option of moving the start date to after the holidays, but it is our intention to begin play once the current order expires”, said Chris Hebb, BCHL Commissioner. “Our objective from the beginning, when we worked out our COVID-19 Safety Plan with the PHO, was to allow our players to have a season, but we want to make sure it is under the safest conditions possible.”

“Should the season start be delayed past Dec. 8, the players that choose to go home for the holidays will be required to adhere to travel guidelines, including going into isolation for 14 days prior to joining their team,” said Steven Cocker, Executive Director of the BCHL.

The decision to start on December 8th was recommended by the league’s Return to Play Task Force.

The BCHL said the new decision also formally cancels the exhibition schedule. As a result, the Trail Smoke Eaters have officially defeated the Cranbrook Bucks in the inaugural Kootenay Cup series. Trail had a 3-2 lead in the pre-season series before the recent news from the BCHL. Rather than resume the friendly competition between the new rivals, the two teams will clash for their real rivalry when the BCHL regular season eventually beings.

According to the league, a revised regular season schedule is set to be released in the coming weeks in anticipation of a December 8th start.