No face-offs until at least Dec. 8 after the BCHL shuts down pre-sesason play. (Citizen file)

No face-offs until at least Dec. 8 after the BCHL shuts down pre-sesason play. (Citizen file)

BCHL cancels remainder of the pre-season

Island teams see their exhibition season cut short

The Cowichan Valley Capitals had an entire pre-season series set against the Powell River Kings in November but the teams never even had a chance to drop the puck.

“We just kind of got caught in the wrong cohort,” explained Cowichan’s head coach and general manager Brian Passmore.

The BCHL cancelled the first of their six games on Nov. 8 but the Caps took it in stride, practising instead to prepare for their Nov. 14 contest, which was also cancelled. Over the weekend the plug was pulled on their next two games and on Monday the rest of the BCHL’s exhibition season was kiboshed outright.

“The whole month of November is going to have no games,” Passmore said. “Now we’re told the league will try to start up on Dec. 8 for the regular season. I think this is the one last chance that we’re going to have to start before Christmas.”

SEE RELATED: Caps contest a casualty of COVID-19 concerns

SEE RELATED: Cowichan Valley Capitals’ weekend games postponed

It took some doing but BCHL brass managed to push the regular season start back by just six days.

“The league has worked so hard to remodel the schedule,” Passmore said. “They pushed it back six days and so we’re going to try to get a bunch of games in before Christmas and hopefully come back in 2021 and continue to play.”

BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb hopes that plan will stick.

“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,” Hebb explained. “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.”

That includes 14-day isolation for players returning to their teams if the start date is delayed and they had opted to go home for Christmas.

The players understand, but are still itching to get on with the season, Passmore noted.

“It’s really tough,” he said. “They’re coming in here training really hard every day to play games and to keep getting let down is bad news. It’s hard for them to keep staying motivated. We’re all in this together and they definitely support each other and I’m really proud of them that they are able to stay mentally and physically strong throughout this whole thing.”

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