In a move that came as little surprise, the Western Hockey League announced a fourth delay to the start of the 2020-21 regular season on Tuesday.
After two tentative delays to the start of the regular season due to COVID-19, the WHL had announced a firm starting date of January 8 back in mid-October.
The WHL released the following statement on December 15:
The Western Hockey League announced today it will delay the start of the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season, and following further consultation with regional health authorities, the Board of Governors will meet in January to consider potential start dates.
With public health restrictions in place across Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest U.S., the WHL is not in a position to start its Regular Season as planned on January 8.
The WHL will continue to work with Government and Health Authorities in our region as we consider schedule options for the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season. The WHL have developed a series of protocols in consultation with health authorities that are necessary to protect WHL players, staff, officials, and fans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We continue to make every effort to get our season started, but our first priority has always been the health and safety of our players, and everyone associated with the WHL,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “Given the public health restrictions that are currently in effect, we are not in a position to determine a new target date for our season. We will continue to consult with health authorities to determine when it is safe and responsible to get our season started.”