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

KIJHL cancels season due to ongoing 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

Pastafarian Gary Smith, pictured here dressed as a pirate, wanted to wear his tricorn (also pictured here) in his driver’s licence photo, arguing that the display was a religious observance. Photo: Facebook
B.C. Pastafarian loses Supreme Court fight to wear pirate hat in driver’s licence photo

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith put his case to the Supreme Court in Rossland early last month

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

The Head to Head mentorship program is intent on helping athletes like Black Jack Ski Team’s Adam Heale reach their potential. Photo: Submitted.
Olympian’s Head to Head mentorship program coming to Kootenays

Head to Head promotes mental resilience and physical wellness through mentorship program

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Cottonwood Lake fundraiser reaches goal

The community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility’s COVID-10 outbreak has been declared over by Interior Health. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID outbreak at Vernon’s Noric House declared over

10 deaths were linked to the outbreak at long-term care facility

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Gas prices jumped in Golden to 131.9c this week, a trend that's supposed to continue into the summer. (Claire Palmer/Golden Star)
Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Clovechok concerned as gas prices continue to rise

Fuel prices are supposed to skyrocket this summer as British Columbians await BCUC analysis

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

Most Read