July arrived on Wednesday, which is more than the halfway mark to when the last WHL season abruptly ended (March 12th) and when the next season is slated to begin.

Under its Return to Play format, the WHL is aiming for an October 2nd start date, which is just three months from yesterday.

Last month the WHL announced that they appointed special task forces in each of the six jurisdictions to work directly with government and health authorities to ensure the health and safety of WHL players, staff, officials, and fans are a top priority in the Return to Play protocol.

The outcome of these discussions with government authorities will ultimately determine the start date for the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season.

Let’s just take B.C. which most of us can agree has done about as good as job as any province in the country or any state in the U.S. in battling COVID-19.

Dr Bonnie Henry, arguably the most popular person in B.C. today, has the highest of standards when it comes to battling the coronavirus and her success rate in comparison to other places can not be disputed.

It seems clear that the NHL chose Toronto and Edmonton as hub cities over Vancouver because Ontario and Alberta were more lenient with their health obstacles than British Columbia.

(Edmonton has been selected to host the Stanley Cup final)

Based on 2019 figures, B.C. is sitting with a population of just over 5-million while next-door Alberta has just over 4.3 million yet Alberta has had nearly three times as many people test positive for COVID 19 (8,202 compared to 2,940 after Thursday figures were released).

This week Alberta expanded gatherings to 200 people but B.C. is not prepared to follow suit anytime soon.

If Dr Henry isn’t going to budge on 50 people for the time being, how will she in just three months give the okay for the five WHL teams in B.C. to have hundreds if not thousands of people come to the games?

Ron Toigo the outspoken owner of the Vancouver Giants has his fingers crossed that the league can start in November or December, let alone October.

The WHL has made it clear the season won’t begin unless they are given the okay to have at least 50 per cent capacity in their buildings.

“Obviously as a spectator driven league we need spectators in order to make it work, that is a key criteria,” Robison said last month.

“We need to arrive at a capacity that will allow our teams to resume operations, we have set at the present time approximately 50 per cent as a minimum capacity that we’d require in order for that to occur.”

With coronavirus cases skyrocketing south of the border, another point of concern is the current non-essential travel restrictions between Canada and the United States.

The restrictions are in effect until July 21st but that date is likely to be extended again especially if BC Health Minister Adrian Dix has his way.

Perhaps positive negotiations are going on behind the scenes that the public is not aware of but indications to this point seem to suggest that COVID-19 will have to be far more under control before the WHL opens its 2020-21 season.

Instead of aiming for October 2nd, the reality is the starting date should read TBD (to be determined).

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK

MLB has announced there will be no Minor League Baseball in 2020. “Who are we, chopped liver?” responded the New York Mets.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

The San Francisco Giants announced that there will be cardboard cut-outs of fans in the seats at home games at Oracle Park this season. Of course, the fans already had a head start in this regard—last year Giants relievers had them cutting out paper dolls.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

This score just in from the cancelled Cowboys-Steelers Hall of Fame Game and postponed induction ceremony in early August: COVID 19, NFL 0.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/


IN CASE, YOU MISSED IT:

A Russian man reportedly got stuck in his building’s garbage chute trying to escape an argument with his girlfriend. I’m thinking she must have been trash-talking.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 the Goat radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca