Junior Hockey players in British Columbia are breathing a sigh of relief, now that public health orders will allow those under the age of 22 to practice with their teams. Those over the age of 18 were banned from participating last month, when BC's provincial health officer suspended all adult sports. The measure was aimed at adult players, after an old timers hockey team from Revelstoke, BC traveled to Alberta for a tournament, and returned with several players infected with COVID-19. The general manager and coach of the junior league Nanaimo Clippers says the 18-year-old cut-off meant half of the team's 23 players were benched. Darren Naylor says it was a bad call.
Naylor says the age ban was devastating for older players, because it hurt their last chance to earn scholarships.
BC's Provincial Health Officer will review the order on January the 8th. Naylor is hoping Dr. Bonnie Henry will amend the rules to allow the junior league to resume its season. Currently, the junior players are not allowed to play games. They are only allowed to participate in no-contact practices and drills.
Meanwhile, "adult sports," for those over the age of 21, are now referred to as “group sports" and they remain limited to two player games like tennis, or training sessions with one player and one coach.