The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has provided the following update regarding its Return to Play Plan and COVID-19:
On October 30th, the KIJHL announced that a member of the Kimberley Dynamiters had tested positive for COVID-19. In accordance with KIJHL Return to Play protocols, the Dynamiters contacted Interior Health and were advised that the individual who tested positive must self-isolate for 14 days. Nine additional members of the Dynamiters were determined by Interior Health to have been close contacts of that individual, and were directed to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of last contact. Three exhibition games involving the Dynamiters were cancelled in the interests of team safety. As of November 12th, no members of the Dynamiters team cohort have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms, and the 14-day isolation period being observed by the nine members of the team has ended. All members of the Dynamiters team cohort have now been cleared to return to hockey activities, and the team will play its regular season opener on Friday, November 13th against the Fernie Ghostriders as scheduled.
On November 6th, the KIJHL announced that a member of the Creston Valley Thunder Cats had come into close contact with an individual outside their team cohort who had tested positive for COVID-19, and their team member was directed by Interior Health to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of last contact. Three exhibition games involving the Thunder Cats were cancelled strictly as a precautionary measure. The individual in question subsequently tested negative for COVID-19 and their 14-day self isolation period has ended. As of November 12th, no members of the Thunder Cats team cohort have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms and the team will play its regular season opener on Friday, November 13th against the Columbia Valley Rockies as scheduled.
Statement from KIJHL Commissioner Jeff Dubois: “The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League is excited to begin our 2020/21 regular season, but we are doing so mindful of the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19. Prior to any of our team’s stepping on the ice this fall, we drafted an extensive Return to Play policy manual that incorporates guidelines and best practices outlined by the B.C. Provincial Health Office, Viasport and Hockey Canada. I’m very pleased with the proactive approach that our teams, staff members and athletes have taken to ensuring that everyone involved with the KIJHL stays safe and healthy. In the two instances where we have had to deal with a positive test or potential exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual, our teams have followed all directions provided by Interior Health and taken additional measures to ensure the well-being of members of their team and their opponents. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, follow the guidance of the Province and Interior Health, and act with the health of all KIJHL members, and their communities, as our foremost priority as we begin regular season play this weekend and in the future.”