COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds

COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds

Seattle Thunderbirds game in Kent postponed due to COVID-19

Spokane at Seattle on Jan. 8 one of eight games postponed by Western Hockey League

The Western Hockey League (WHL) has postponed eight regular season games over the next several days due to COVID-19, including the Spokane Chiefs at Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday, Jan. 8 at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent.

The league announced Friday, Jan. 7 the changes following WHL COVID-19 protocols, including current pausing of team activities for 15 teams, resumption of team activities for one team and the postponement of eight regular season games.

The Thunderbirds are not one of the paused teams, but Spokane is. The Jan. 8 game was scheduled to be the annual Teddy Bear Toss donation game. Fans may hold on to their tickets to use when the game has a rescheduled date.

At this time, 15 clubs have recently paused team activities as a result of multiple players and staff being added to the COVID-19 protocol list due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive for COVID-19.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes and Swift Current Broncos have been cleared to resume all team activities. It is anticipated that numerous other clubs currently on pause will be cleared to resume team activities in the coming days.

“The WHL and our member clubs remain fully committed to playing through the 68-game WHL regular season schedule and playoffs,” said WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “As we work through the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our priority continues to be to deliver a world-class development experience for WHL players, staff, and officials, and to do so in a safe and healthy manner. On behalf of the entire WHL, I wish to thank WHL fans and WHL corporate partners everywhere for their patience as we work to reschedule games in the coming weeks.”

The WHL is working in consultation with the league’s chief medical officer regarding the matter concerning all clubs currently paused. At this time, the following clubs have paused all team activities, including on-ice practices and off-ice training, based on WHL COVID-19 protocols:

Calgary Hitmen

Edmonton Oil Kings

Everett Silvertips

Kamloops Blazers

Medicine Hat Tigers

Moose Jaw Warriors

Prince Albert Raiders

Prince George Cougars

Red Deer Rebels

Regina Pats

Saskatoon Blades

Spokane Chiefs

Tri-City Americans

Victoria Royals

Winnipeg ICE

As a result of the aforementioned pausing team activities, the following eight regular season games have been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date:

Saturday, Jan. 8

Spokane at Seattle

Tuesday, Jan. 11

Calgary at Regina

Prince Albert at Edmonton

Spokane at Victoria

Kelowna at Prince George

Wednesday, Jan. 12

Calgary at Moose Jaw

Spokane at Victoria

Kelowna at Prince George

WHL clubs are responsible for monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 among players and hockey operations staff on a daily basis. Upon a player or hockey operations staff member exhibiting symptoms, the individual completes a rapid antigen test and isolates. If the rapid antigen test result is positive, the individual is sent for a PCR test to confirm the positive result and determine next steps.

If there are multiple rapid antigen positive test results for COVID-19, all team activities are paused immediately. The entire team completes one round of PCR testing and isolates until the results are received and the WHL chief medical officer is made aware of the situation.

The health and safety of all WHL participants is the top priority for the WHL. In order to reduce the risk of exposure to and transmission of COVID-19, the WHL requires all WHL roster players, hockey operations staff, and other team and League office personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a Health Canada approved vaccine.

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