KIJHL cancels remainder of 2020/21 season

The KIJHL said the extension of COVID-19 restrictions announced by provincial authorities on Feb. 5 mean the league can't finish the remainder of the season and playoffs on time.

File photo from 2018: The Grizzlies take a lap after the game to thank the fans. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL), home to the Revelstoke Grizzlies, has announced it is cancelling the rest of the 2020/21 season after provincial authorities indicated that COVID-19 restrictions were being extended past Feb. 5. In a statement, the KIJHL said the extension of the restrictions means that the season and playoffs can’t be completed before rinks melt their ice sheets for the summer. The Revelstoke Grizzlies announced the cancellation of the remainder of their season on Jan. 29 due to some players contracting COVID-19. In a Feb. 6 statement, the KIJHL said it was looking forward to getting back on the ice in the fall:

The decision was made following Friday’s update from the provincial government that includes an extension on restrictions in place under the current Provincial Health Order until late February at the earliest.

“We are disappointed for our players, team staff, volunteers, sponsors, game officials and fans that the 2020/21 season will not be completed,” says KIJHL commissioner Jeff Dubois. “Over the past number of months we have made every effort possible to keep our athletes on the ice and to give all of them, and especially our graduating 20-year olds, the opportunity to compete for a league championship.

“However, the further extension of the PHO takes us beyond where our regular season would typically end and our playoffs would begin,” continues Dubois. “As we approach March and April, we are faced with the reality of arenas removing their ice for the spring and summer, and that leaves us unable to plan for a meaningful conclusion to our season.”

KIJHL clubs will have the option to continue to train under the current PHO guidelines, and the possibility remains that exhibition games may be played if restrictions are relaxed in the future.

“I’d like to thank all of our stakeholders for their patience and understanding during a difficult and challenging season,” says Dubois. “Our athletes and staff members have done a tremendous job of keeping everybody safe, and our billet families deserve special recognition for welcoming players into their homes during this pandemic. We look forward to being back on the ice this fall and getting back to the game we all love.”

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