Restrictions on border travel will mean an all-Canadian October for the Western Hockey League Western Conference and some schedule changes for the Langley-based Vancouver Giants.
On Wednesday, Sept. 8, the league announced the Western Conference regular season schedule – which usually sees WHL teams from the U.S. play teams in Canada and vice versa – was being altered “due to ongoing border restrictions preventing non-essential bus travel from Canada to the U.S.”
As a result, WHL Clubs in the U.S. Division will compete exclusively against U.S. Division opponents, while WHL Clubs in the B.C. Division will compete exclusively against B.C. Division opponents in October.
In November, cross-border games will begin, starting Wednesday, Nov. 3 when the Portland Winterhawks are scheduled to visit the Kamloops Blazers.
For the Vancouver Giants, the ripple effect of the schedule juggling will mean a switch of B.C. opponents for two games, with the Giants playing Kamloops instead of Kelowna on Oct. 16, and Kelowna instead of Kamloops on Oct. 23.
A Nov. 3 game against Kelowna has been cancelled and the Giants first game against a U.S. team is set for Saturday, Nov. 6 against Portland Winterhawks at Langley Events Centre.
Under existing COVID-19 restrictions, U.S,. residents are allowed to travel into Canada for non-essential purposes, provided they are fully vaccinated and must have tested negative for the coronavirus prior to travel.
The WHL Western Conference consists of 10 teams, five in B.C. and five in Washington and Oregon.
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