Seattle’s Mekai Sanders maneuvers the puck up the ice during WHL play Feb. 23 at the accesso ShoWare Center. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds

Seattle’s Mekai Sanders maneuvers the puck up the ice during WHL play Feb. 23 at the accesso ShoWare Center. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds

Season start delayed again for Seattle Thunderbirds, rest of WHL

Games had been scheduled to start Jan. 8; new start date undetermined

There’s been another delay to the start of the Western Hockey League season for the Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds and the rest of the teams.

The Calgary, Alberta-based WHL announced Dec. 15 it will delay the start of the 2020-21 regular season, and following further consultation with regional health authorities, the Board of Governors will meet in January to consider potential start dates.

With public health restrictions in place across Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest due to COVID-19, the WHL is not in a position to start its season as planned on Jan. 8, according to a league statement.

The T-Birds play their home games at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent. The regular season typically goes from September to March.

The WHL will continue to work with government and health authorities in the region as it considers schedule options for the 2020-21 season, according to a league statement. The league has developed a series of protocols in consultation with health authorities that are necessary to protect players, staff, officials and fans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continue to make every effort to get our season started, but our first priority has always been the health and safety of our players, and everyone associated with the WHL,” said Commissioner Ron Robison. “Given the public health restrictions that are currently in effect, we are not in a position to determine a new target date for our season. We will continue to consult with health authorities to determine when it is safe and responsible to get our season started.”

The league halted the 2019-2020 regular season in March and never resumed play due to COVID-19.

About the WHL

Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the WHL consists of 22 member clubs with 17 in Western Canada and five in the Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the NHL for over 50 years.




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