Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)

COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

Tomorrow’s Canadian junior A hockey trade deadline has put BC Hockey League managers in a bit of a quandary.

Not knowing for sure if the BCHL would be able to resume play next month or not — depending on COVID-19 restrictions — Cowichan Valley Capitals head coach and general manager Brian Passmore is struggling to do right by his players, especially the 20-year-olds in their last year of eligibility.

If the BCHL does return to action, he will want those veterans in the lineup, but if it doesn’t, he would prefer to have sent them to another junior A league that is playing or will be playing this season.

“Obviously we have 20-year-old guys who want to go somewhere where they will be playing,” Passmore said, adding that “two or three” of the five 20-year-olds on the current roster have asked to be moved to a club that will be playing.

RELATED: BCHL season delayed once more, but league still hopes to play

RELATED: BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs face COVID-19 challenges

If some or all of the five 20-year-olds end up going elsewhere, that will leave a good chunk of the 25-man roster empty.

“There will be a lot of holes there, and we need players who can play there, if we’re playing,” he noted.

The Alberta Junior Hockey League has confirmed that it will resume its season, which stopped in November, so he could send his veterans there to play. The Manitoba Junior Hockey League, on the other hand, has cancelled the remainder of the season, and Passmore has already arranged to acquire players from that league if the BCHL does get back in action.

It’s a tricky situation, regardless.

“It creates a lot of anxiety,” Passmore admitted. “We’re trying to keep guys if we’re playing, but at the same time, we’re looking for talented players coming in. We understand they want to play hockey. They’re 20 years old and looking at the future of their hockey careers. I still have a lot of optimism that we will play.”

While most Western Hockey League teams and the Alberta Junior Hockey League have announced their returns, the BCHL and the WHL’s five B.C.-based teams are still awaiting clearance to play this season. The BCHL played an exhibition season in the fall, but teams have been limited to practices since November. WHL teams in B.C. haven’t skated together at all.

The BCHL season has been delayed several times, most recently on Feb. 5 when the Provincial Health Office extended restrictions around mass gatherings and events until the beginning of March.

On Feb. 18, the BCHL received notice that multiple members of the Prince George Spruce Kings tested positive for COVID-19. According to the league, the Spruce Kings reached out to Northern Health, who then notified the Provincial Health Office. All affected team members and close contacts were placed in 14-day quarantine, and anyone showing symptoms will be tested as soon as possible.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

BCHL

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

Just Posted

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

The Dease Lake Airport is receiving $11-million in upgrades funded by the province, Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and mining companies. (British Columbia Aviation Council)
Major upgrades coming to Dease Lake Airport

Airport to receive $11-million from the province, regional district and mining companies

Dianna Plouffe, right, with Mayor Gladys Atrill in front of Town Hall following the announcement she will be the new CAO> (Facebook photo)
Director of corporate services named Smithers CAO

Dianna Plouffe replaces Alan Harris who is retiring at the end of April

Mabel Todd, 83, of the Nak’azdli First Nation, leads a group of family members and advocates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls as they walk along the so-called Highway of Tears in Witset. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Province, feds fund full cell service along ‘Highway of Tears’ following years of advocacy

A ‘critical milestone in helping prevent future tragedies’ after at least 10 Indigenous women murdered, missing along the route

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

Most Read