FILE – Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli, left, shoots and scores his team’s first goal against Kelowna Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle during second period action at the Memorial Cup final in Quebec City on Sunday, May 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

FILE – Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli, left, shoots and scores his team’s first goal against Kelowna Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle during second period action at the Memorial Cup final in Quebec City on Sunday, May 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

League includes Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix says a plan has been approved in principle to allow the Western Hockey League to resume operations in the province.

Dix said Monday that a “series of variances” are still required from public health authorities, but he said he expects the five teams in the league’s B.C. Division — the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals — to play this season.

Teams in the league’s other three divisions have already been cleared to play by state and provincial governments and public health authorities.

The start of the 2020-21 season was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Play finally began Feb. 26 with the league’s Alberta-based teams. Teams in the U.S. Division are scheduled to start March 19 while the East Division, with teams based in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, has been cleared to play in a bubble environment.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League was the only league under the Canadian Hockey League to start its season at its traditional time, but pandemic-related issues have caused several interruptions.

The Ontario Hockey League has yet to announce plans for a season.

ALSO READ: Nanaimo Clippers for sale, owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

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