The Abbotsford Pilots will not be returning to the ice until after Dec. 7 at the earliest.
The Pacific Junior Hockey League club must abide by the new restrictions on sports put in place by the Provincial Health Office, which were announced on Nov. 19.
“We will continue with viaSport Phase 3 activities with the exceptions there are to be no spectators at indoor or outdoor sports, and there will be no travel for any of these sports outside of your local community,” Henry said at the Nov. 19 COVID press briefing. “That is the restriction that we need to have in place now across the province to ensure that we can have these important sport activities continue, but in a safe way during this pandemic.”
The no travel aspect essentially puts a pause on the PJHL season, as teams had been competing in cohorts. The Pilots were originally placed in a cohort group with the Mission City Outlaws and the Chilliwack Jets. The Jets and the Outlaws had played six games against each other already before the Pilots were added to the cohort for two games on Nov. 6 and 7.
A two-week health order restriction in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions stopped the season on the evening of Nov. 7, and the new restrictions on Nov. 19 extend that break.
The PJHL isn’t the only junior league to now face delays, as the BCHL has also pushed back the start of its season. They had originally slated to open the league on Dec. 2, but that has been moved to Dec. 8 and league officials stated they would be open to delaying until after the holidays if it’s deemed to be necessary.
The no travel rules also mean that rep or travel teams in the Abbotsford Minor Hockey Association, and teams such as the Yale Lions and the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds cannot compete outside of Abbotsford. Men’s recreational hockey teams are also unable to play outside of their local community.
More sports details are expected to be released by the PHO in December.