Red Deer Rebels send players home

WHL season still on pause

The Red Deer Rebels have sent players back to their respective hometowns.

Most other WHL teams announced a similar step, with the Prince George Cougars and Edmonton Oil Kings making the decision Saturday night they were taking measures to send players back to their home towns. Earlier reports Saturday indicated that the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, a member of the CHL had sent European import players home.

The Rebels said in a statement on Twitter, “With player health and safety of vital importance, it has been determined, in conjunction with the WHL and CHL, that our players will return home to their families, effective immediately.”

These moves follow an announcement on March 12 that the CHL, which oversees the WHL, the QMJHL and the Ontario Hockey League would pause their season until further notice.

Later that day, Hockey Canada announced the cancellation of all Hockey Canada related activities and since, the ECHL, a minor pro league has canceled the remaining portion of their season.

Most WHL teams had 5-6 regular-season games left to be played and the Memorial Cup, which gathers the four best teams from across the country, was set to be played in Kelowna, from May 22-31. The AHL sent a directive to players that the indefinite suspension will most likely not be lifted on their league until May.

These steps all come amidst a worsening global situation, as well as COVID-19 cases increase exponentially in North America. As of Monday morning, there 56 COVID-19 cases in Alberta and 407 total across Canada.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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