The WHL announced Wednesday that the 2020-21 WHL season will likely start on Jan. 8. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

The WHL announced Wednesday that the 2020-21 WHL season will likely start on Jan. 8. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

WHL now aiming for Jan. 8 start date

League still determining if fans will be allowed at games

The Western Hockey League is now hoping to drop the puck on its new season in January.

Originally, the league targeted Oct. 2 for opening night of the WHL season. In August, the league pushed that date to Dec. 4, with the intention of playing a full 68-game season.

Wednesday, the league announced they would try to start the season on Jan. 8.

“The WHL is a world-class development league and we remain fully committed to providing our players with the highest level of training, coaching, and competition in the system,” said WHL Commissioner Ron Robison in a press release.

In the announcement, the league said that all games for the 2020-21 season will be played within the boundaries of the four divisions, with the East Division consisting of the seven Saskatchewan and Manitoba-based teams; the Central Division consisting of the five Alberta-based teams; the B.C. Division consisting of the five B.C.-based teams; and the U.S. Division consisting of the five teams located in Washington and Oregon.

Players are expected to report to their teams following the Christmas break.

The league has still not made a determination if fans will be permitted at games and the schedule is expected at a later date.

In the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, which started earlier this month, they have postponed games for two weeks because of multiple COVID-19 cases among teams.

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