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BCHL hockey championships cancelled

Best-of-seven BCHL playoff series was supposed to begin Friday, March 13, in Nanaimo
The Nanaimo Clippers and Cowichan Valley Capitals compete during a game earlier this BCHL season. (News Bulletin file photo)

The Island final playoff series everyone wanted to see will not happen, nor will the rest of the playoffs.

The Canadian Junior A Hockey League announced Friday that it is cancelling the remainder of hockey season, including all playoffs and championship tournaments. On Thursday the B.C. Hockey League had suspended its post-season, but today’s announcement means there is no longer any intention to resume after a break.

The Nanaimo Clippers and the Cowichan Valley Capitals were set to start Friday, March 13, at Frank Crane Arena.

The CJHL said in a press release that its decision is “due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.”

“This news is devastating to our organization,” the Clippers posted on social media Friday.

“Although this is super disappointing and frustrating to our staff, players, and supporters, we understand the seriousness and need to take all steps in place for the safety of our fans and volunteers,” noted a statement from Clippers general manager Tali Campbell the day before. “The Nanaimo Clippers’ first priority is the health and well-being of the players and staff.”

The team says it will make sure everyone is refunded for any tickets and fan bus packages purchased, starting “early next week.” In the meantime, the Clippers’ office at Frank Crane Arena is closed.

The BCHL board of governors said it supported Thursday’s decision by Hockey Canada to cease operations of all events.

“This unprecedented situation is not something any of us thought we would be dealing with, but unfortunately it’s now a reality,” said Chris Hebb, BCHL commissioner. “In the interest of public safety, we believe this was the only choice that could be made and we fully support Hockey Canada’s decision to suspend operations. We wish our players, staff and fans all the best during this difficult time.”

READ ALSO: National basketball championships at VIU cancelled

The B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League has postponed playoffs. The VIU Mariners had been scheduled to play a best-of-three series versus Simon Fraser University in Burnaby this coming weekend, March 13-15.

B.C. Hockey cancelled provincial championships this month, including midget Tier 1 provincials at the Nanaimo Ice Centre starting March 16.

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