2020/2021 season on hold for Powell River Kings

Team will be prepared when it receives the green light, says GM

Powell River Kings are involved in a wait and see game with regard to resumption of the team’s on-ice and off-ice activities.

Kings general manager Chad van Diemen said everyone is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“There’s no spring camps, there’s no playoff revenue for the teams that were still playing,” said van Diemen. “For us in Powell River, we’ve put everything on hold. Our office is shut down and we don’t have access to it in the recreation complex. Vancouver Coastal Health has taken over the upstairs of the complex so we don’t have access to our office right now.

“We’re just on hold until further notice.”

The Kings are planning as if they will be back on time at the start of the year, said van Diemen.

“We’re recruiting, we’re dealing with our returning players, but in terms of the business side of things, everything is on hold until we get the go-ahead from the league, which will come down from Hockey Canada. When we come back, local and provincial governments will be a big part of that as well.

“Honestly, we won’t be running anything out of our rink until we get a go-ahead through Vancouver Coastal Health and the city. It’s just patience at this time and obviously there are a lot of unknowns. When the league gives us the green light, we’ll be playing.”

Until that happens, it’s a waiting game. The league has planned for a number of different scenarios and starting on time would be the best-case scenario, said van Diemen. There are also plans in place in case there has to be a shortened season, depending on when the league is allowed to start.

“At this time, as of today, we don’t know when the exact date will be,” said van Diemen. “We are planning for September 1 but we are prepared for that to be later. When hockey starts, we’ll be as best prepared as we can.”

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the BC Hockey League (BCHL) is requesting financial assistance from the provincial government to offset major losses for its teams due to the shutdown of the league.

According to the BCHL website, On March 13, after the first round of the BCHL playoffs, the league was forced to cancel the remainder of its season due to the pandemic as Hockey Canada shut down all sanctioned events indefinitely. This also includes spring camps run by BCHL teams, which are a major source of revenue.

“We have every intention of playing hockey next season, with all 18 of our teams, if we get the green light from Hockey Canada, as well as the provincial health authorities,” stated BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb in his post on the BCHL website. “But, the reality is we’ve identified potential financial issues down the road due to this pandemic and want to address these problems now.

“The league has already lent its support to our teams through a contingency fund, but it’s clear that more is needed.”

Hebb stated that with so much uncertainty heading into next season, teams aren’t able to count on ticket revenue for 2020/2021 or the same level of support they are used to receiving from sponsors.

“We are seeking the support of the BC government and are merely asking for a meeting to explain the economic, social and cultural impact of our teams on the BC communities they represent,” stated Graham Fraser, chair of the BCHL board of governors.

The BCHL has gathered letters of support from the mayors of their markets in BC, as well as the District of Kitimat, where the league held its first-ever BCHL road show in February.

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