WHL taking precautions to avoid spread of COVID-19

The Western Hockey League issued a statement on Tuesday saying that they are closely monitoring what health authorities are announcing as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

In addition to reminding all teams to maintain proper hygiene, the league has made the following recommendations to all clubs and officials.

  • Elimination of handshakes between teammates, opponents and officials
  • No sharing of water bottles or towels on benches or penalty box areas
  • Avoid direct contact with fans, including high-fives, handshakes, and autographing of items

Unlike Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, each team’s dressing room is already off limits to the media and all interviews are done in designated areas.

When asked if the team is planning to make any major changes, the Prince Albert Raiders declined comment.

Although no WHL games have been affected by COVID-19, that’s not the case for sporting events in the United States.

The Cornell Big Red and RPI Engineers men’s hockey programs will be playing their playoff games behind closed doors, while the Ivy League conference has canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

Santa Clara County in California has ordered no gatherings larger than 1,000 people through the end of March, which would affect three San Jose Sharks home games.

Over in Europe, the Eishockey Liga in Austria and the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany have ended their seasons early and numerous soccer leagues are holding matches in empty stadiums.

The IIHF Women’s Hockey Championship, which was to be held in Halifax and Truro, N.S. later this month, was cancelled on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the upcoming Women’s World Curling Championship in Prince George, B.C. is expected to go ahead as planned.