The Western Hockey League (WHL) has set a tentative start date of Dec. 4 for its 2020-21 regular season.
Even with that, the opening date of the regular season remains contingent on receiving the necessary approvals from the government and health authorities in each of the six provinces and states in the WHL territory.
No matter when it starts, WHL officials say they remain committed to playing a full regular-season schedule of 68 games, followed by four rounds of playoffs.
Discussions continue with government and health authorities on putting in place extensive safety measures to protect players, staff, and fans. They are also addressing key issues, such as spectator capacities and border crossings.
By adjusting the start date to early December, WHL officials say they will have additional time to work with government and health authorities to resolve these important issues.
“In our discussions with the government and health authorities, it has become apparent that additional time is required to ensure we can return to play in a safe and responsible manner," says WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. "Our WHL health and safety protocols have been well received by the health authorities but we have several key issues that we will need to reach a resolution on in the coming months.”
In June, the WHL was eyeballing Oct. 2 as a potential start date.
There were four Cochrane players in the league last season: Damon Agyeman, Medicine Hat Tigers; Tyrel Bauer, Seattle Thunderbirds; Connor Bouchard, Tri-City Americans; and Caleb Williams. Tigers.
In this year's WHL bantam draft, Hunter Sawka was claimed 91st overall by the Calgary Hitmen in the fifth round, and Ethan Neutens was taken 180th overall in the ninth round by the Kelowna Rockets.