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

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Rain clouds were absent for most of April in the West Kootenay. Photo: Betsy Kline
April precipitation only one-third of normal in West Kootenay

Third month in a row with below average rain fall

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Central Mountain Air will be flying seven days a week this summer. Photo: Betsy Kline
Central Mountain Air increases Castlegar flights

West Kootenay Regional Airport will see flights to Vancouver seven days a week this summer

Photo: RCMP
Rossland pedestrian dies after being pinned between 2 vehicles

RCMP Sgt. advises that victim services is available for anyone requiring help

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

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

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

Most Read