Hockey Canada has cancelled all Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities, including its national championships and all BC Hockey provincials and playoffs, until further notice.
On behalf of Hockey Canada, chief executive officer Tom Renney and president and chief operating officer Scott Smith said the difficult decision was made due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision will effectively cancel all BC Hockey operations, including minor hockey provincials, junior playoffs and shut down hockey academies within the province.
In B.C. the shutdown will affect all B.C. minor hockey associations and academies, the junior A BC Hockey League, junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League and Pacific International Junior Hockey League, along with the Western Hockey League of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).
“Without question, this is an unprecedented period of difficulty for the sports world,” Renney said. “The health and safety of all participants in sport, including players, coaches, staff, officials, fans, family, volunteers and the general public, is of the utmost importance to Hockey Canada.”
On Thursday, the B.C. government announced a ban on all events larger than 250 attendees.
Renney said after much consultation with the Hockey Canada membership, its chief medical officer and public health officials, activities will be shut down beginning Friday, March 13.
“We recognize the tremendous effort that has been put forth all year by individuals across the country as they participate in Canada’s game,” he said. “Although it is difficult to process the hockey season ending abruptly, we feel this is the best course of action in order to do our part in keeping our country safe.”
Barry Petrachenko, chief executive officer with BC Hockey, said its board of directors support the leadership shown by Hockey Canada to suspend all hockey operations in attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“The health and safety of our players, their families and their communities is our utmost priority,” Petrachenko said.
“This is a developing situation which we will continue to monitor closely along with Hockey Canada and the appropriate public health authorities.”
Petrachenko added they will provide further information to its membership as soon as it is made available.
“We recognize the impact this situation has on our families and participants, and we thank our entire BC Hockey community for their patience and understanding through this difficult time.”
In B.C., provincial hockey championships were slated to begin this Sunday, March 15, in cities including Kamloops, Penticton, Quesnel, Golden, Kelowna, Williams Lake, West Vancouver, Vanderhoof, Vernon, Nanaimo, Saanich, Summerland, Prince Rupert, Richmond, Hope and Cowichan.