Players in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) will be able to lace up for a limited season starting in April after the provincial health officer conditionally approved a plan for a safe return to play.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in countless ways. To keep each other safe, we have had to limit activities that are fundamental to our normal way of life,” said Premier John Horgan. “While we are not out of the woods yet, there is hope on the horizon and we are now ready to, gradually and safely, resume some of these activities. That includes getting young people back on the ice this season.”

The revised plan from the BCHL has improved safety protocols in place including health screening and testing, limited travel, “pod” cities and a pre-season quarantine plan. Protocols are also in place to limit interactions between players, coaches and staff from the BCHL, and the communities they play in. The five pods will be located in Penticton, Coquitlam, Chilliwack, Vernon and Port Alberni.

“Sports are important for young people’s development and we understand how hard the time away from friends and teammates has been,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “I know that Dr. Henry and her team are working hard to determine how to safely return more leagues back to the field of play this spring.”

The one-time variances to the gathering and events order to allow the league to return to play may be amended based on the latest COVID-19 data and modelling.

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