WHL Announces Return to Play Initiative

The WHL wrapped up his league meetings via online video conference earlier this week, and during the meeting, teams discussed and finalized the league’s return to play initiative.

With government and health authorities in each of the six jurisdictions in the WHL territory in the process of releasing further directives on their re-opening plans, the WHL has developed a Return to Play protocol to facilitate discussion on a timely start to the 2020-21 season. The WHL has appointed special task forces in each of the six jurisdictions to work directly with government and health authorities to ensure the health and safety of WHL players, staff, officials, and fans are a top priority in the Return to Play protocol. The outcome of these discussions with government authorities will ultimately determine the start date for the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season.

The WHL has targeted a start date of Friday, October 2 for the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season, but this date remains contingent on receiving the necessary approvals from government and health authorities in each of the six jurisdictions in WHL territory. The WHL is committed to protecting the integrity of the WHL Regular Season schedule, and fully intends to complete a full 68-game schedule for 2020-21, regardless of when the season begins.

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.

The WHL also announced the addition of a new CHL live streaming platform for the 2020-21 season, which will include WHL, OHL and QMJHL games.

“WHL fans can look forward to all three CHL leagues housed under one streaming service,” the league said in a release, “with a new digital platform developed by an entirely new partner available on new devices. Further details including the new streaming service provider, pricing and packaging, will be announced at a later date.”

Finally, the league announced that the 2019-20 WHL season saw WHL Club ownership invest in excess of $2.8 million for 402 WHL graduates utilizing the WHL Scholarship. Over 6,400 WHL Scholarships have been accessed since 1993-94 with a total invested value of about $28 million.