The Western Hockey League announced this week it has adopted a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.
Effective immediately, all WHL roster players, hockey operations staff and other team and WHL Office personnel along with officials must be fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the start of the 2021-22 WHL Regular Season. The WHL Regular Season opens Friday, October 1, 2021.
In addition to players, the mandatory vaccination policy will apply to General Managers, Coaches, Head Scouts or Director of Player Personnel, Trainers, Equipment Managers, On-ice and Off-ice Consultants, On-ice Officials and ice level Off-ice Officials (penalty box attendants; timekeepers and scorekeepers) and any other individuals who interact directly and on a regular basis with players.
“The health and safety of our players and staff continues to be the number one priority for the WHL,” stated WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “The policy is designed to further protect our players and staff in the WHL from the potential risk of exposure to COVID-19.”
“With travel restrictions currently in place with the Canada/U.S. border as well as the province of Manitoba, it is important all players and staff are fully vaccinated in order to be eligible to play a full season in the WHL,” Robison added.
The WHL has also strongly recommended to each of its member clubs that players reside in billet households in which all eligible individuals are fully vaccinated.
[top photo Kamloops Blazers captured champions]
In May 2021 the Kamloops Blazers captured the B.C. Division Champions, and for the first time ever, the RE/MAX Cup. The presentation of the RE/MAX Cup marks the conclusion of an unprecedented campaign in the B.C. Division, which included rigorous protocols to ensure the health and safety of all players, staff and officials involved. As a result of ongoing testing and diligent attention to these protocols, the B.C. Division schedule was completed with minimal interruptions from March 26 through May 12.
The RE/MAX Cup was created for the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season, presented to the Champion of the WHL RE/MAX Hub Centres, which played host to the WHL’s B.C. Division in Kamloops and Kelowna. With a record of 18-4-0-0 and 36 points, the Kamloops Blazers rank atop the B.C. Division.
The Blazers defeated every other team in the B.C. Division at least once throughout the campaign. The high-octane offense was powered by Calgary Flames prospect Connor Zary, who finished second in team scoring with 24 points (6G-18A) in only 15 games. With Zary out of the lineup, veteran forward Josh Pillar took a leading role down the stretch and ultimately finished atop the Blazers scoring charts with 29 points (11G-18A) in 22 games. Zary, a 19-year-old product of Saskatoon, Sask., was selected by the Flames in the first round (24th overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft.