Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)

COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

Tomorrow’s Canadian junior A hockey trade deadline has put BC Hockey League managers in a bit of a quandary.

Not knowing for sure if the BCHL would be able to resume play next month or not — depending on COVID-19 restrictions — Cowichan Valley Capitals head coach and general manager Brian Passmore is struggling to do right by his players, especially the 20-year-olds in their last year of eligibility.

If the BCHL does return to action, he will want those veterans in the lineup, but if it doesn’t, he would prefer to have sent them to another junior A league that is playing or will be playing this season.

“Obviously we have 20-year-old guys who want to go somewhere where they will be playing,” Passmore said, adding that “two or three” of the five 20-year-olds on the current roster have asked to be moved to a club that will be playing.

RELATED: BCHL season delayed once more, but league still hopes to play

RELATED: BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs face COVID-19 challenges

If some or all of the five 20-year-olds end up going elsewhere, that will leave a good chunk of the 25-man roster empty.

“There will be a lot of holes there, and we need players who can play there, if we’re playing,” he noted.

The Alberta Junior Hockey League has confirmed that it will resume its season, which stopped in November, so he could send his veterans there to play. The Manitoba Junior Hockey League, on the other hand, has cancelled the remainder of the season, and Passmore has already arranged to acquire players from that league if the BCHL does get back in action.

It’s a tricky situation, regardless.

“It creates a lot of anxiety,” Passmore admitted. “We’re trying to keep guys if we’re playing, but at the same time, we’re looking for talented players coming in. We understand they want to play hockey. They’re 20 years old and looking at the future of their hockey careers. I still have a lot of optimism that we will play.”

While most Western Hockey League teams and the Alberta Junior Hockey League have announced their returns, the BCHL and the WHL’s five B.C.-based teams are still awaiting clearance to play this season. The BCHL played an exhibition season in the fall, but teams have been limited to practices since November. WHL teams in B.C. haven’t skated together at all.

The BCHL season has been delayed several times, most recently on Feb. 5 when the Provincial Health Office extended restrictions around mass gatherings and events until the beginning of March.

On Feb. 18, the BCHL received notice that multiple members of the Prince George Spruce Kings tested positive for COVID-19. According to the league, the Spruce Kings reached out to Northern Health, who then notified the Provincial Health Office. All affected team members and close contacts were placed in 14-day quarantine, and anyone showing symptoms will be tested as soon as possible.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

BCHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A photo illustration shows a fountain planned for Mill Lake. (City of Abbotsford photo)
UPDATED: City approves $200K fountain for Mill Lake using donated funds

Project will improve lake quality and ecosystem, say Abbotsford city staff

Linnea Labbee outside the Chilliwack Law Courts on April 1, 2021 on day 16 of her trial in BC Supreme Court where she is charged in connection with the fatal hit-and-run of a 78-year-old woman on Mary Street on Dec. 1, 2016. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crown seeking jail time for 72-year-old Chilliwack woman found guilty in fatal hit-and-run

Trial of Linnea Labbee who struck and killed 78-year-old woman in 2016 ended Monday

The Abbotsford IHOP, shown here on April 5, is now completely removed. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford IHOP building taken down

Iconic restaurant had been on South Fraser Way for nearly 33 years

Abbotsford's Rick Hansen Secondary School is celebrating Vaisakhi virtually for 2021. (Submitted)
VIDEO: Abbotsford’s Rick Hansen Secondary School celebrates ‘Virtual Vaisakhi’

Production highlights local youth talent in anticipation of the start of annual festival on April 13

The Abbotsford Gogos are inviting local residents to watch a virtual concert in support of African grandmothers. The concert first airs on April 15. (Photo: Abbotsford Gogos Facebook page)
Abbotsford Gogos invite guests to virtual concert to support African grandmothers

Event first airs on April 15, featuring music, dance and storytelling

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
Puppies stolen during weekend break-and-enter in South Surrey

Surrey RCMP seeking public’s assistance in locating three American Bulldog puppies

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Mounties say they “corralled” four Ford Mustangs April 4 after an officer saw the muscle cars racing down 184 Street near 53 Avenue at about 10 p.m. (File Photo)
Mounties impound four Mustangs

Surrey RCMP say they seized four cars for street racing

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read