Don Moores likened predicting hockey’s return date to shovelling fog.
“There is just so much up in the air and no one really knows what to do,” said Moores, president of the Kamloops Blazers.
Moores watched Premier John Horgan’s press conference on Wednesday (May 6), when he unveiled the plan to restart B.C.’s economy.
Fan-attended Western Hockey League games seem to fall into the phase 4 category, meaning they are prohibited unless wide vaccination, community immunity or broad successful treatments are found in response to the novel coronavirus.
“I don’t think anyone was surprised to see that,” Moores said. “As a league, we’re strategizing as far as having a plan to take to the government to say this is what we can do, this is our motto and what we think will work under the guidelines you’ve given us.”
Moores said the WHL will work in conjunction with Hockey Canada to seek those guidelines and develop return-to-play protocols.
Playing in empty arenas is among options the CHL may consider.
Would that be feasible financially for the Blazers?
“We’re ticket-driven,” Moores said. “There’s no question of that. But I don’t think we’re thinking of that right now. We’re looking at different ways we can, as an organization and league, bring hockey back and monetarily figure out how we can do that, as well.”
The provincial government’s report to restart the economy included several guidelines, one of which is identifying high-contact sports that should not take place during the pandemic.
Differing pandemic-related regulations and guidelines are found in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Oregon and Washington state, further muddying waters for the WHL.
Moores said the WHL board of governors and the league’s general managers and business leaders meet regularly to discuss strategies.
“It’s time for us to work hard together to make it so we can come up with a feasible solution, but I’m not going to lie to you — it’s not easy,” Moores said. “We’re all working very hard to make the best of a bad situation.”