The Surrey Eagles and the BCHL are defering to the government and the sport’s governing bodies with regard to dealing with the COVID-19 virus. (Phil McLachlan/Penticton Western News photo)

Surrey Eagles, BCHL plan for second round of playoffs amid COVID-19 fears

‘We want to do what’s right not only for our (players), but for our fans and the general public’

On the eve of puck drop for the second round of BC Hockey League playoffs, competing teams – including the Surrey Eagles – are preparing to play despite ongoing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus.

On Thursday morning, Eagles general manager Blaine Neufeld told Peace Arch News that it was a ‘status quo’ situation as his team got set to take on the Coquitlam Express in Game 1 of their series Friday night in Coquitlam.

However, he added, the team and the league was prepared to follow the lead of government and health officials, should any recommendations or edicts come in the meantime.

“This is something that is on a global scale and it’s going to affect everybody… but I’m not a doctor, so what we’ll do is we’ll defer to the higher-ups… in the B.C. government, and then go down the chain to Hockey Canada and BC Hockey, and follow whatever guidelines they want to put in place for us,” Neufeld said.

“We’re obviously willing to follow suit with whatever they decide, but… you just have to sit and wait. Obviously, the second round is on the cusp of beginning, but we want to do what’s right not only for our (players), but for our fans and the general public.

“Personally, my number-one concern would be for fans in an older demographic who enjoy our games, because we know they’re more (susceptible) to the virus… I wouldn’t ever want to put someone in a position where by attending a game, they’re being put in harm’s way.”

Surrey advanced to the second round after a Game 7 win in Round 1 Sunday against the Chilliwack Chiefs.

Reached by email at noon on Thursday, Jesse Adamson, co-ordinator of content services for the BCHL, told PAN that the league is “still discussing next steps with Hockey Canada and the (Canadian Junior Hockey League” and a statement was expected later in the day.

The BCHL did not immediately respond to a request for comment on COVID-19 by mid-morning Thursday.

• READ ALSO: Surrey and White Rock ‘weathering the storm’ of COVID-19 threat

• READ ALSO: Trudeau goes into self-isolation over COVID-19

On Wednesday, BC Hockey released a statement that said the organization is in daily communication with Hockey Canada, and officials are “monitoring updates, recommendations and warnings that may be issued by the Government of BC and Government of Canada.”

“The Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk to Canadians as low and recommends assessing the risk from a specific situation or event on a case-by-case basis,” the release notes. “Currently the Government of BC also identifies the risk to BC residents as low.”

For its member organizations, BC Hockey also listed recommendations that should be taken in order to help curtail the spread of the virus, from hand-washing to not sharing water bottles.

Earlier this week, the NBA suspended its regular season, and Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League, among others, quickly followed suit. The junior ‘A’ United States Hockey League also suspended its season and playoffs on Thursday morning.

The Western Hockey League – which includes the Langley-based Vancouver Giants – announced Thursday it was still weighing its options, with the league’s board of governors set to discuss the next steps today.

In Washington state, as well as Santa Clara County in California, law-makers have banned all gatherings of more than 250 and 1,000 people, respectively, which throws many sporting events in flux.

Overseas, professional hockey leagues in Italy, Germany and Austria – among other countries – have already cancelled the rest of their seasons and playoffs.

Elsewhere in B.C. , the junior ‘B’ Vancouver Junior Hockey League has postponed the start of a playoff series between the Campbell River Storm and Oceanside Generals, citing an ongoing “health situation” involving COVID-19. The series is currently set to begin Saturday.

Neither staff nor players from either team has tested positive for the virus, though “several players were self-isolating for influenza-like symptoms on the recommendation of public health officials,” BC Hockey CEO Barry Petrachenko told Black Press Media earlier this week.

Neufeld said there were no Eagles players or staff members with symptoms of COVID-19.

– with files from the Campbell River Mirror

BCHLCoronavirusSurrey Eagles

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of White Rock ponders feedback on CAC funds

Some $13 million will come to the city as a result of ongoing developments

Stargazing ‘keeps you humble,’ says Surrey astronomy enthusiast

Terry McComas shares his passion for the celestial

South Surrey-based pen-pal program aims to reduce seniors’ isolation during pandemic

South Surrey/White Rock concierge service to connects kids & seniors virtually

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Surrey city council moving to virtual meetings

For public hearings, people can register to speak via telephone

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Insurance shock for B.C. condo owners

Claim-free two-year-old townhouse complex told premium will nearly triple

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

Most Read

l -->