Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League has eyed Jan. 15 as a return date to action, pending provincial announcements. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)

Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League has eyed Jan. 15 as a return date to action, pending provincial announcements. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)

Junior B hockey games resume on Vancouver Island Jan. 15, pending provincial announcements

Teams to play in three regional cohorts

It is a case of bad news and good for fans of Junior B hockey on Vancouver Island.

On Tuesday, BC Hockey announced the cancellation of the 2021 Cyclone Taylor Cup, the championship tournament that sees the winner of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) compete with the respective league winners from the International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL), the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL), and a host for the trophy bearing the name of the iconic, Hall of Fame hockey player.

“BC Hockey’s priority remains the health and safety of all participants and our communities,” said Cameron Hope, chief executive officer of BC Hockey. “The decision to cancel these events is the safest and best decision in light of continued uncertainty of this pandemic and the competition and travel implications associated with these events.”

The cancellation marks the second time in as many years BC Hockey had to cancel the event because of COVID-19, which the Delta Ice Hawks were to have hosted this year. The cancelled 2020 edition was scheduled for 100 Mile House at the start of the pandemic.

However, the VIJHL plans to resume games on Jan. 15 after having suspended play on Nov. 21, 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions, according to Pete Zubersky, general manager of the Peninsula Panthers, pending provincial announcements later this week. “We will start practice [without contact] tonight [Monday] and to say our guys are antsy is an absolute understatement,” he said. KIJHL has also identified Jan. 15 as a starting date.

RELATED: Vancouver Island Junior Hockey suspends play following new COVID-19 restrictions

According to Zubersky, VIJHL teams will play in three cohorts – a four-team cohort of Victoria Cougars, Saanich Predators, Westshore Wolves and Peninsula Panthers; a three-team cohort of Kerry Park Islanders, Nanaimo Buccaneers, and Oceanside Generals and a two-team cohort of the Campbell River Storm and the Comox Valley Glacier Kings. Pending league approval, cohorts will draw up their own schedule, with the league having approved the schedule for the Greater Victoria cohort.

Much remains uncertain, but one fact has already become clear. “The pandemic has caused a huge financial strain on all the teams in the VIJHL including the Peninsula Panthers with no fans and sponsorship cuts,” Zubersky said. “I am hopeful and believe that in September we will have all been immunized and we will have a normal 2021/22 season.”

For now, the Panthers are focusing on getting ready for the rest of the season. “The kids are missing the game more than they could have imagined, I see that is an upside to an otherwise horrible situation,” said Zubersky.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Peninsula PanthersVIJHL

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

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Heavy flows of water pooled on Davis Road after a lead to a fire hydrant burst on Thursday Jan. 21. (Jim Tredwell photo)
Fire hydrant connection burst at Davis Road and Battie Drive

Crews worked well into the night on Thursday Jan. 21 to staunch the flow of water

A pedestrian was transported to hospital after being struck while crossing Roberts Street. (Cole Schisler photo)
Pedestrian struck crossing Roberts Street

The driver remained on scene and is cooperating with police

Emergency crews were called to a semi-truck crash along the Trans-Canada Highway at Oyster Sto’Lo Road on Friday, Jan. 22. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Semi truck crashes off the side of the highway in Ladysmith

Driver taken to hospital as precaution after single-vehicle crash Friday

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy rushed to emergency 3 times after ingesting drugs in Vancouver Island public spaces

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Most Read