The Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds will only play U.S. Division opponents the first month of the Western Hockey League season due to COVID-19 travel restrictions to the U.S. from Canada. The T-Birds open the season Oct. 2 at Portland. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

The Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds will only play U.S. Division opponents the first month of the Western Hockey League season due to COVID-19 travel restrictions to the U.S. from Canada. The T-Birds open the season Oct. 2 at Portland. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, Seattle Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds to play only U.S. Division teams in first month

Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 restrict travel from Canada

The Western Hockey League announced a series of changes to the 2021-2022 Western Conference regular season schedule, including the Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds.

Due to ongoing border restrictions preventing non-essential bus travel from Canada to the U.S. because of COVID-19, WHL teams in the U.S. Division will compete exclusively against U.S. Division opponents, while clubs in the B.C. Division will compete exclusively against B.C. Division opponents during the month of October, according to a Sept. 8 WHL statement.

Following these changes, teams in the Western Conference are now scheduled to begin inter-division competition beginning Nov. 3 when the Portland Winterhawks visit the Kamloops Blazers.

The U.S. Division teams besides the T-Birds and Portland include the Everett Silvertips, Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans. The B.C. Division includes the Kelowna Rockets, Vancouver Giants, Kamloops Blazers, Victoria Royals and Prince George Cougars

The T-Birds open league play Oct. 2 at Portland. Their home opener is Oct. 9 against Portland at the accesso ShoWare Center.

It was previously announced that the Western Conference teams would compete exclusively within the Western Conference only during the 2021-2022 regular season.

The Calgary, Alberta-based WHL consists of 22 teams with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the Pacific Northwest.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Sports

Courtesy Photo, Emerald Downs
Emerald Downs to increase horse racing purses by 10% in 2022

Second consecutive year of 10% increase at Auburn track

Courtesy Photo, Seattle Kraken
New tickets released for Seattle Kraken preseason game in Kent

Entry requirements for Oct. 2 game include proof of vaccination

Kent’s Jaleen Roberts, collecting a silver medal for the long jump at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, also took silver in the 100 meters. COURTESY PHOTO, Joe Kusumoto, USOPC
Kent’s Jaleen Roberts captures silver in 100 at Paralympic Games

Kent-Meridian graduate wins second silver medal in Tokyo

Kingston Edwards, middle, meets Mariners players Justin Dunn, Justus Sheffield and Kyle Lewis when he was announced as one of the Hometown Nine. Photo courtesy of Ben VanHouten, Seattle Mariners
Federal Way teen selected for Seattle Mariners Hometown Nine class

Hometown Nine is a five-year fellowship program to help build the academic, athletic success of local students.

Hometown Nine fellow Imani Brown (center) poses for a photo with Mariners pitcher Justin Dunn (Left) and Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis during an event for the Hometown Nine class of 2026 at T-Mobile Park. Photo by Ben VanHouten/ Seattle Mariners.
Auburn middle school student athlete chosen for Mariners fellowship

Imani Brown, 13, plays baseball and attends Rainier Middle School

Talia Walton in high school playing for Federal Way in the state championships. File photo
Former UW Husky, WNBA player named Renton schools athletic director

Federal Way High basketball alum Talia Walton aims to rally the community around sports.

t
Kent’s Jaleen Roberts takes silver medal in long jump at Paralympic Games | Update

Took sixth place in 200 meters and set an American record

Thomas Milic of the Seattle Thunderbirds will participate in the Seattle Kraken training camp. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds
T-Birds goaltender to participate in Kraken training camp

Thomas Milic will head to Seattle from Kent

A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State announces mask requirements for student sports, performing arts

Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

t
Six T-Birds heading to NHL training camps

Rempe, Bauer, Roulette, Ciona, Hanzel and Rybinski

The Seattle Thunderbirds return to play in October. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds
Western Hockey League adopts mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy

Kent’s Seattle Thunderbirds are league member