WHL season start date uncertain amid rising COVID-19 cases

REGINA —
Uncertainty continues to swirl around the anticipated start date of the Western Hockey League (WHL) regular season, as the league weighs its options amid rising COVID-19 case numbers.

The WHL is reportedly reconsidering its previously announced Jan. 8 start date.

Regina Pats general manager John Paddock didn’t offer much insight into any league discussions when asked about any more postponements during a press conference Thursday.

“I wouldn’t tell you if I did know,” said Paddock. “We need to be flexible, adaptable. Things can change positively and negatively.”

“Our plans are dictated by different people from every organization. The Western Hockey league, being asked or being on some sort of committee or passing their thoughts on, officially or unofficially to people in the league,” said Paddock, adding there are many different plans for a return to play.

These plans need to be approved by government officials in four different provinces in western Canada, as well as United States jurisdictions. Players will also need to travel to their respective team cities ahead of training camps.

“We might have a tentative plan, but that’s a pretty short window,” Paddock said, referencing the original January start date.

Paddock however, remains optimistic there will be a season.

“I’m still pretty positive about the league getting up and running without question,” the Pats general manager said.

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