The Western Hockey League is pushing back the start of its season indefinitely due to uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league announced the news in a statement yesterday, saying it is not in a position to start the season as planned on Jan. 8 due to current public health restrictions across Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest U.S.
The WHL is comprised of 22 teams spanning four provinces and two states, and the league says it has been working with the various health authorities to create protocols necessary for protecting players, staff, officials and fans during the pandemic.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League was the only one of the three Canadian major junior leagues to open play around its normal start date, beginning its season in October.
COVID-19 outbreaks among several teams forced the QMJHL to postpone games and public health restrictions saw the league create a “bubble” in Quebec City before the league put the season on hold at the end of November.
The Ontario Hockey League plans to begin its season in early February.