Concerns remain as province works with BCHL return-to-play plan

Issues with BCHL plan

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry didn't sound optimistic BC Hockey League teams will be allowed to play meaningful games anytime soon.

And, the clock is running out.

During her media availability Tuesday, Dr. Henry says the consultation process is continuing between her team and the league, but the signs are not good.

"There have been a number of concerns identified, I'll be blunt about that, that need to be addressed before that can happen safely," she said.

"I know timing is an issue, and whether those can be worked out or not, I am not clear."

Timing may refer to a board of governors meetings scheduled for Thursday in which the league will decide whether to continue trying to find a solution, or to pull pin and wait for the fall.

Unlike the WHL, BCHL teams did play a series of games back in the fall, and many players have remained with their teams and have been practicing.

However, she says plans in place then are no longer adequate.

She says a team of medical professionals, representatives from WorkSafeBC and viaSport have been consulting with the league, and have been providing advice as to where the areas of concern lie.

"Right now, they are continuing to work with the BCHL and our regional teams, because the plan is dispersed around the province in a way that is slightly different that the Western Hockey League."

While the WHL went with two hub cities in Kelowna and Kamloops, the BCHL is proposing five hub cities around the province.

The prospect of having to wait further has already prompted the owner of the Nanaimo Clippers to put his club up for sale.

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