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Western Hockey League Lifts Temporary Activity Ban

Photo by Rusty Barton

Western Hockey League Lifts Temporary Activity Ban

The Western Hockey League has announced the resumption of team activities for eight of its clubs, just days after allowing six other teams to get back to normal routine. Due to the ongoing and rapid spread of COVID’s Omicron variant, western Canada’s top junior hockey league was forced to shut its doors on both players and fans alike after various positive test results through the majority of its teams.

After seeing the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Moose Jaw Warriors, Portland Winterhawks, Regina Pats, Swift Current Broncos, and Tri-City Americans return to action, the WHL has since given the Edmonton Oil Kings, Everett Silvertips, Medicine Hat Tigers, Prince Albert Raiders, Red Deer Rebels, Saskatoon Blades, Spokane Chiefs and Winnipeg ICE the green light to return to team activity, assuming all WHL COVID-19 Protocols are kept in place.

The return to action following the holiday break saw a number of game postponements from December 27 onward. Every league game from January 3-11 was postponed except for one matchup between Portland and Kelowna in BC.

With current public health orders in various provinces limiting the number of fans allowed to attend such events, the league made the decision to postpone further games that would have otherwise been played at empty venues. Four games within Manitoba have been taken off the schedule:

  • Saturday, January 15 – Regina at Winnipeg
  • Sunday, January 16 – Regina at Winnipeg
  • Friday, January 21 – Regina at Brandon
  • Saturday, January 22 – Regina at Brandon

The four postponed games listed above will be rescheduled at a later date.

From January 12 onward, the majority of games on the schedule are set to be played. The league also announced the rescheduling of 13 games from December through March, which will be played over the next three months at the originally set venues.

The following 13 WHL regular season games will now be played on these dates:

Saturday, January 15

  • Winnipeg at Moose Jaw (originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 30)

Sunday, January 16

  • Kamloops at Portland (originally scheduled for Wednesday, January 12)
  • Moose Jaw at Regina (originally scheduled for Sunday, January 30)

Monday, January 17

  • Prince Albert at Red Deer (originally scheduled for Wednesday, January 12)

Tuesday, January 18

  • Winnipeg at Swift Current (originally scheduled for Tuesday, December 30)
  • Calgary at Regina (originally scheduled for Tuesday, January 11)

Wednesday, January 19

  • Calgary at Moose Jaw (originally scheduled for Wednesday, January 12)
  • Victoria at Prince George (originally scheduled for Friday, January 7)

Wednesday, February 2

  • Swift Current at Lethbridge (originally scheduled for Sunday, January 2)

Monday, February 7

  • Red Deer at Brandon (originally scheduled for Saturday, January 1)

Thursday, February 17

  • Moose Jaw at Lethbridge (originally scheduled for Friday, January 7)

Tuesday, February 22

  • Edmonton at Red Deer (originally scheduled for Friday, January 7)

Monday, March 28

  • Lethbridge at Red Deer (originally scheduled for Saturday, January 8)

“The health and safety of all WHL participants is the top priority for the WHL,” the league wrote in a statement. “In order to reduce the risk of exposure to and transmission of COVID-19, the WHL requires all WHL roster players, hockey operations staff, and other team and League office personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a Health Canada approved vaccine.”

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, his favourite pastimes include camping, car-modification projects and coaching hockey. Carter can be reached at carterbrooks1994@gmail.com or on Twitter at @GameOnHockey.

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