Hockey may be starting up again in Penticton in a big way.
The B.C. Hockey League (BCHL) is in talks with the City of Penticton, provincial health authorities and other groups to turn the city into a hub-city for the league, should the league resume play in a “bubble” scenario similar to how professional leagues like the NHL and NBA completed the 2019-20 seasons.
BCHL content services coordinator Jesse Adamson confirmed that discussions about Penticton as a hub had been considered, in an email conversation with the Western News.
“We are exploring every option that would give us a chance to play this season, even if it means looking into non-traditional formats,” he said.
The City of Penticton’s general manager of community services Anthony Haddad said that preliminary discussion was taking place between the city, Penticton Vees organization, and Spectra on hosting the bubble. Spectra operates the Pentiction Trade and Convention Centre (PTCC) and South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC).
“We certainly see this as an interesting and exciting opportunity to utilize the facilities that we have at the city, and a great opportunity to support the Penticton Vees and the BCHL where we can,” Haddad added.
The entire league — minus the Washngton State based Wenatchee Wild — would come to Penticton and play their games out at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The teams, coaches and staff would all be hosted at the PTCC. The convention centre is physically connected to the SOEC, and the buildings have their own kitchens, which would allow the league to be fully self-contained between the buildings.
“The concept of having the accommodations attached directly to the SOEC, where the games would be played and practices would occur, would be ideal from a health perspective,” said Haddad.
Before the decision can be made on officially declaring Penticton the host city for the league, there are still many more discussions and issues that will need to be resolved, including getting support from the provincial health authorities. Some of those discussions will include matters of logistics and health protocols among other topics.
The discussions are still in an early stage, and it is possible that the league might decide on a different city or option than having a single hub.
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