WHL pushes start date to December

While the Western Hockey League remains committed to playing a full 68-game season, the league has pushed back the starting date into December due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After previously announcing an early October start to the 2020-21 regular season, the league announced on Thursday that the beginning of the regular season would be pushed back until December 4.

“Regardless of our start date, the WHL is committed to playing a full Regular Season and Playoffs in 2020-21,” stated WHL Commissioner Ron Robison in a media release. “In our discussions with the government and health authorities, it has become apparent that additional time is required to ensure we can return to play in a safe and responsible manner. Our WHL health and safety protocols have been well received by the health authorities but we have several key issues that we will need to reach a resolution on in the coming months.”

The beginning of the season remains contingent upon the necessary approvals from government and health authorities in each of the six provincial / state jurisdictions that the league’s 22 teams are based out of.

“The WHL continues to have regular discussions with government and health authorities on the extensive safety measures the WHL is prepared to take to protect players, staff, and fans, and to address key issues such as spectator capacities and border crossings. By adjusting the start date for its Regular Season to early December, the WHL will have additional time to work with government and health authorities to resolve these important issues,” stated the release.

The Ontario Hockey League recently announced the intention to play a 64-game season beginning on Dec. 1.

The Canadian Junior Football League officially cancelled its 2020 season earlier on Thursday.