Kelowna’s Matthew Wedman takes a face-off against his old team the Seattle Thunderbirds. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Kelowna Rockets Images)

WHL cancels remaining games of season, hopeful for playoffs at later date

WHL teams would have played their last game by March 22

Teems across the Western Hockey League will not play the remaining games they had scheduled in the regular season.

On March 18, the league announced the remaining 54 games between all teams would be cancelled. With the playoffs and the Memorial Cup’s status in Kelowna still up in the air, the league made the call for the health and safety of players and personnel as coronavirus precautions grow.

“The WHL takes the safety of our players, officials, staff, fans, and everyone associated with the WHL very seriously,” said WHL commissioner Ron Robison.

“We will continue to monitor ongoing public health developments regarding COVID-19. We will make every effort possible to conduct the 2020 WHL Playoffs at a later date. We thank WHL fans and partners for your patience and understanding during these challenging times.”

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The league released the final standings of the season with the 16 teams that would go on to the playoffs if and when the post-season is continued.

The 2020 Memorial Cup hosts Kelowna Rockets would come in as the 15th playoff team.

“I think it’s great that we’re in, but this is something we’ve never seen before,” said Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton.

“It’s out of our hands with these decisions being made by the health board, but the most important thing is the health of our players, staff and fans.”

Three of the Rockets’ last games were home games, and would have had big playoff implications as the season winded down.

“It is frustrating and a big financial hit, but we’re no different from a whole bunch of local businesses. We just hope that this thing moves along,” said Hamilton.

The Rockets are offering credit towards next year for season ticket holders and refunds for all single-game passes.

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