From the Surrey Now-Leader, October 15, 2020
By Tom Zillich
PJHL hockey season starts for teams in four cohorts, no fans
‘Our teams have put in a lot of work, getting us to this point’, says league commissioner
Surrey Knights and White Rock Whalers are in the same cohort for the COVID-modified Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) season.
League games get going today (Thursday, Oct. 15), with action between Grandview Steelers and Richmond Sockeyes, although teams have the ability to delay their season start until Nov. 1, “should they choose or need more time to plan with their facility,” according to a statement posted to pjhl.net.
To start, the PJHL’s four cohorts include one involving the Knights, Whalers, Aldergrove Kodiaks and Ridge Meadows Flames, as part of the league’s revamped 36-game schedule this season.
Teams will only be allowed to play games against the other teams within their cohort for the first half of the season. In December, the league will break for the required 14-day quarantine period, then the cohorts will be shuffled for the remainder of the season.
At this time, fans are not permitted to attend PJHL games due to current COVID-19 building restrictions.
League commissioner Trevor Alto said the PJHL takes great pride in its return-to-play plan. “It has been a collaborated effort involving our governing bodies, municipalities, facilities, other user groups, and our players and staff,” Alto said in the website post.
The PJHL’s Cohort #1 will involve Grandview Steelers, Port Moody Panthers and Richmond Sockeyes, Cohort #2 includes Abbotsford Pilots, Chilliwack Jets and Mission City Outlaws, and Cohort #3 will be Delta Ice Hawks, Langley Trappers and North Vancouver Wolf Pack.
Schedules for each cohort will be posted on www.pjhl.net as they become available.
The Whalers are scheduled to play Ridge Meadows at Abbotsford Summit Centre on Sunday, Oct. 18.
The Knights’ first game will be played Wednesday, Oct. 21 against Aldergrove Kodiaks, at Aldergrove Credit Union Community Arena, followed by another game there on Halloween night.
In an exhibition game played Sunday (Oct. 11) at Langley Sportsplex, the Whalers beat the Knights 6-1.
“Our teams have put in a lot of work getting us to this point, and we are very excited that we are able to get the season underway,” Alto added.
“We understand that in returning to regular season play, we have a big responsibility of ensuring every one of our games is operated in a manner in line with our return-to-play protocol. We are very excited to get the 2020-21 season underway and look forward to giving our athletes the best development experience possible.”