Powell River Kings’ extra-long wait for the game finally comes to an end

The Kings, who were the only active BCHL team that didn’t even play an exhibition game last fall due to COVID restrictions, played in a championship game just over a year ago.

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Games played during the BC Hockey League’s fall exhibition season ranged from the Nanaimo Clippers’ 16 to the Powell River Kings zero.

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The Junior A circuit recently got approval from the provincial health office a season of 18 to 20 team matches in five groups, starting in April . The Kings, we’re here to suggest, enthusiastically lead the league in this endeavor.

They even wanted to announce on their Twitter thread that they had opted for the shortened campaign.

“I thought if we had the opportunity to have our players five games, I wanted to do everything to try to do it,” said Powell River general manager Chad van Diemen.

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The teams were responsible for setting their own show times, but they were required to play in regional cohorts, which is in line with regulations set by viaSport, the government delivery agency that established the basic guidelines for the return. gambling.

Cohorts can consist of up to four teams. The Kings normally play in the Island Division of the five-team BCHL, and those other four clubs initially united when proceedings began in late September.

The Cowichan Valley Capitals have agreed to leave this cohort, take the two-week hiatus needed to start with the Kings, and then face Powell River on Nov. 8-14.

On November 7, Dr. Bonnie Henry, a provincial health officer, imposed restrictions on the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions to fight the increase in COVID-19 cases that have suspended hockey games, among other sports. Since Powell River is part of the Vancouver Coastal, these Kings games with the Capitals had to be canceled .

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BCHL played its last exhibition games on November 19 due to more orders from Henry and the league teams have been in practice mode only since.

“When these restrictions went into effect on November 7, the mood changed here,” van Diemen said. “We had a few weeks here where I compared it to a funeral.

“We never reached our full complement. You weren’t sure exactly why you were bringing players in and it’s a paying league at this point. What are you selling them?

“It was tough. No one signs up with a BCHL team just to practice. I don’t think there are a lot of coaches who have a practice / game ratio plan of 100 to 0. ”

Powell River had some American rookies who opted to stay at home early in the season, according to van Diemen. They switched five players to the American leagues that were playing games after the November shutdown, and traded another player to a Canadian league that was operational before the roster freeze on February 25.

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The Kings announced the signing on Tuesday 11 new players to complete their roster of 25 players .

“There were times this year where we had nine players in training,” said van Diemen. “We have provided what we can.

“There is no ill will towards the guys who have come and asked for hits. I understand. It was hard. For the guys who have been here all this time, being rewarded with some sort of season makes me happy. “

The BCHL is expected to announce its schedule next week.

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The Kings will be part of a group with the Coquitlam Express and the Surrey Eagles based at Scotia Barn in Burnaby. The Express is the host team, but the usual home of the Poirier Sports and Recreation Complex in Coquitlam is removing the ice to prepare for the lacrosse season.

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There are also pods in Penticton, Chilliwack, Vernon and Port Alberni.

Ted Clarke from Prince George Citizen reported that Powell River is one of four teams that will be staying at hotels in their respective cities. The others are the Prince George Spruce Kings, the Trail Smoke Eaters and the Cranbrook Bucks. All players from other teams will stay in their shelters.

The Wenatchee Wild, which is the league’s only U.S. entry, pulled out of the 2020-21 season in the fall due to Washington state regulations and restrictions on cross-border travel. The Langley Rivermens have pulled out of this return-to-play campaign, leaving the league with 16 active teams.

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