The Surrey Eagles and the BCHL are defering to the government and the sport’s governing bodies with regard to dealing with the COVID-19 virus. (Phil McLachlan/Penticton Western News photo)

Surrey Eagles, BCHL plan for second round of playoffs amid COVID-19 fears

‘We want to do what’s right not only for our (players), but for our fans and the general public’

On the eve of puck drop for the second round of BC Hockey League playoffs, competing teams – including the Surrey Eagles – are preparing to play despite ongoing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus.

On Thursday morning, Eagles general manager Blaine Neufeld told Peace Arch News that it was a ‘status quo’ situation as his team got set to take on the Coquitlam Express in Game 1 of their series Friday night in Coquitlam.

However, he added, the team and the league was prepared to follow the lead of government and health officials, should any recommendations or edicts come in the meantime.

“This is something that is on a global scale and it’s going to affect everybody… but I’m not a doctor, so what we’ll do is we’ll defer to the higher-ups… in the B.C. government, and then go down the chain to Hockey Canada and BC Hockey, and follow whatever guidelines they want to put in place for us,” Neufeld said.

“We’re obviously willing to follow suit with whatever they decide, but… you just have to sit and wait. Obviously, the second round is on the cusp of beginning, but we want to do what’s right not only for our (players), but for our fans and the general public.

“Personally, my number-one concern would be for fans in an older demographic who enjoy our games, because we know they’re more (susceptible) to the virus… I wouldn’t ever want to put someone in a position where by attending a game, they’re being put in harm’s way.”

Surrey advanced to the second round after a Game 7 win in Round 1 Sunday against the Chilliwack Chiefs.

Reached by email at noon on Thursday, Jesse Adamson, co-ordinator of content services for the BCHL, told PAN that the league is “still discussing next steps with Hockey Canada and the (Canadian Junior Hockey League” and a statement was expected later in the day.

The BCHL did not immediately respond to a request for comment on COVID-19 by mid-morning Thursday.

• READ ALSO: Surrey and White Rock ‘weathering the storm’ of COVID-19 threat

• READ ALSO: Trudeau goes into self-isolation over COVID-19

On Wednesday, BC Hockey released a statement that said the organization is in daily communication with Hockey Canada, and officials are “monitoring updates, recommendations and warnings that may be issued by the Government of BC and Government of Canada.”

“The Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk to Canadians as low and recommends assessing the risk from a specific situation or event on a case-by-case basis,” the release notes. “Currently the Government of BC also identifies the risk to BC residents as low.”

For its member organizations, BC Hockey also listed recommendations that should be taken in order to help curtail the spread of the virus, from hand-washing to not sharing water bottles.

Earlier this week, the NBA suspended its regular season, and Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League, among others, quickly followed suit. The junior ‘A’ United States Hockey League also suspended its season and playoffs on Thursday morning.

The Western Hockey League – which includes the Langley-based Vancouver Giants – announced Thursday it was still weighing its options, with the league’s board of governors set to discuss the next steps today.

In Washington state, as well as Santa Clara County in California, law-makers have banned all gatherings of more than 250 and 1,000 people, respectively, which throws many sporting events in flux.

Overseas, professional hockey leagues in Italy, Germany and Austria – among other countries – have already cancelled the rest of their seasons and playoffs.

Elsewhere in B.C. , the junior ‘B’ Vancouver Junior Hockey League has postponed the start of a playoff series between the Campbell River Storm and Oceanside Generals, citing an ongoing “health situation” involving COVID-19. The series is currently set to begin Saturday.

Neither staff nor players from either team has tested positive for the virus, though “several players were self-isolating for influenza-like symptoms on the recommendation of public health officials,” BC Hockey CEO Barry Petrachenko told Black Press Media earlier this week.

Neufeld said there were no Eagles players or staff members with symptoms of COVID-19.

– with files from the Campbell River Mirror

BCHLCoronavirusSurrey Eagles

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

Just Posted

‘Best of Cloverdale’ contest returns

Voters can cast ballots once a day until Sept. 5; enter to win $250 gift card for Save-On-Foods

Surrey councillors wary of ‘streamlining’ environmental development permits process

Mayor Doug McCallum notes B.C. government only agency that can issue environment permit

City buys century-old East Delta church

St. Stephen’s Church to be renovated and restored, used as community services and programming space

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help Surrey boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

UPDATE: Cloverdale store owner gives away free face shields

Tricia Ellingsen offered more than 200 free protective shields

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Salmon arrive in larger numbers at Big Bar landslide

Arrival follows historic hihg-water levels that halted migration runs

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

Most Read