The Chilliwack Chiefs and Coquitlam Express will finally play games in early April as the BCHL squeezes in a shortened 20 game season. Just-announced provincial funding may help the junior A league offset financial losses caused by the COVID pandemic. (Darren Francis photo)

The Chilliwack Chiefs and Coquitlam Express will finally play games in early April as the BCHL squeezes in a shortened 20 game season. Just-announced provincial funding may help the junior A league offset financial losses caused by the COVID pandemic. (Darren Francis photo)

Province provides relief funding for amateur sport

The government is directing $15 million to teams/leagues impacted by the COVID pandemic

The provincial government is stepping up with a big funding promise for amateur leagues and teams hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the WHL and BCHL aren’t directly referenced in the news release announcing the $15 million relief fund, the money “will help amateur sports leagues and teams with operational costs, such as salaries, administrative costs, personal protective equipment, and the development of COVID-19 safety plans to ensure the safety of athletes and staff.”

Both leagues would fit that criteria.

The fund will be administered by viaSport and according to the release, focus on leagues and teams owned and operated in BC that do not pay athletes, and can demonstrate at least a 30 per cent loss in revenue due to the pandemic.

College/university teams aren’t eligible.

RELATED: BCHL requests financial aid from government as COVID-19 wreaks financial havoc

RELATED: B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

“We have heard from hockey leagues about the pandemic being a tough opponent,” said BC Premier John Horgan. “This new relief fund will help them and other amateur leagues to get through these challenging times. We want sports fans to be able once again to cheer for their favourite teams on the diamond, at the local arena and on the pitch once the pandemic is over.”

“B.C.-based amateur sport organizations play a vital role in developing athletes who represent B.C. in provincial, national and international competition,” added Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Some of these athletes have spent their whole lives working to get to this stage. This investment is another important measure our government is taking, so amateur athletes can continue to follow their dreams.”

The Local Sport Relief Fund is also helping, with $1.5 million in provincial and federal money going to 288 local sport organizations throughout BC. After seeing high demand for the first round of funding, a second round was launched earlier in March and applications are being accepted until April 30 at viasport.ca

“During the pandemic, the absence of sport has had a profound impact on participants, athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, organizations and communities,” said viaSport CEO Charlene Krepiakevich. “This funding will help fill the gap and support B.C.-based amateur sports leagues and teams that have been ineligible for provincial sport relief funding to date and are experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on

Local SportsProvincial GovernmentSports

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

Just Posted

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

Volunteer Robbie McKnight works the screening table at the Coast Mountain College COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Smithers. (Deb Meissner photo)
UPDATE Smithers clinic expands vaccine eligibility to ages 55+

Community members born in 1966 or earlier can now register and will be notified when they can book

Vancouver police say eight people were arrested Wednesday after anti-pipeline protesters blocked off both the entrances and exits to two buildings in the downtown core. (Instagram/Qtcatspictureclub)
8 people arrested after anti-pipeline protestors chain themselves to Vancouver buildings

Cst. Tania Visintin said demonstrators caused ‘a serious safety hazard’ downtown for hours Wednesday

Jamie Coutts recorded a man following her around downtown Vancouver for a half-hour on Wednesday, March 18. (Instagram screenshot/Iammjammbamm)
Man charged in alleged high-profile Vancouver stalking case that went viral online

Man faces five other charges including criminal harassment and assault with a weapon

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

A sea lion swims past the window of an empty viewing area Vancouver Aquarium is pictured Thursday, September 10, 2020. The Vancouver Aquarium has had to close its doors to the public due to the lack of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
U.S.-based theme park company buys Vancouver Aquarium

Aquarium had to shut its doors in September due to COVID pandemic

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

A deep cut on a humpback whale is shown in this recent handout photo in the Vancouver area. A conservation organization is warning boaters to be extra careful to prevent further harm to an injured humpback whale swimming in the Vancouver area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Ocean Wise, Vanessa Prigollini *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Boaters urged to use caution around hurt humpback off Vancouver

Ocean Wise says watchers first noticed the wound 3 days ago and believe it was caused by a vessel strike

Ron Rauch and his wife Audrey are photographed at their home in Victoria, Friday, March 5, 2021. Their daughter Lisa Rauch died on Christmas Day 2019 when a tactical officer with the Victoria Police Department shot her in the back of the head with plastic bullets after barricading herself in a room that was on fire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. families push for changes as special committee examines provincial Police Act

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth acknowledged the need to update the legislation last year

Most Read