Report: WHL receives approval to play in Saskatchewan

Games to reportedly be held in a bubble in Regina

While nothing has been confirmed by the league as of yet, the Western Hockey League could soon be starting the process to begin play again in the province.

Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek tweeted on Wednesday evening that the WHL has “approval from the province of Saskatchewan to hold a bubble in Regina.”

Marek also said in his Tweet that the league is still waiting for approval from the Manitoba government that would allow the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Winnipeg Ice to join their East Division counterparts (Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders, Regina Pats, Saskatoon Blades and Swift Current Broncos) in Regina.

In an interview with Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix earlier in the day, Saskatoon Blades general manager Colin Priestner said that the league had submitted a return-to-play proposal to the Saskatchewan Health Authority and provincial government.

“We’re hopeful that we’re back up and moving in the next week here to give us some indication as to when we can get going,” Preistner said.

The only official announcement about a return to play date came last week as the five Alberta-based clubs (Calgary Hitmen, Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers and Red Deer Rebels) will begin their seasons on Feb. 26.

Meanwhile, Andy Eide of 710 ESPN Seattle reported earlier this week that the Washington government had approved the WHL’s return to play plans for the four teams (Everett Silvertips, Seattle Thunderbirds, Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans) located in the state.

Unlike the Saskatchewan clubs, the Alberta and Washington teams will travel to each other’s arenas and not play in a hub location.

There has been no official word yet on plans for the Portland Winterhawks (who are in Oregon) and all five teams in the B.C. Division (Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals).