WHL targets Oct. 2 for start of 2020-21 season

The league unveils its Return to Play plan, but provides no definitive info regarding fan attendance.

CALGARY, Alberta — The Western Hockey League announced Wednesday it has targeted Oct. 2 for the start of its 2020-21 season.

The league, which includes the Everett Silvertips, was forced to shut down the conclusion of its 2019-20 season and the entirety of the playoffs because of the coronavirus outbreak.

With Labor Day on Sept. 7, the season would normally have been slated to begin Sept. 25. In a press release, the league stated its intention to conduct a full 68-game schedule.

“This date remains contingent on receiving the necessary approvals from government and health authorities in each of the six jurisdictions in WHL territory,” the release said.

There was no definitive statement about whether games would be played before fans, but the released included: “The WHL is also working with government and health authorities in each jurisdiction on the level of spectator capacities that will be permitted in each WHL club arena facility. The WHL is a spectator-driven league and the welcoming back of WHL fans is vital to a successful return to hockey for all 22 WHL member clubs.”

WHL commissioner Ron Robison is scheduled to conduct a Zoom meeting with media members at 10 a.m. PT to address the league’s Return to Play initiative.

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