The Western States Hockey League (WSHL) has spent the first 30 days of the Coronavirus "stay at home" policy working on alternatives for the 2020-2021 ice hockey season and like most people looking forward to some guidance from our legislators on when, how soon, etc. we can all safely return to what used to be normal activity.
The WSHL teams are currently recruiting as much as possible through social media, telephone interviews, and where possible video review. Even without any on ice tryouts to date, the recruiting successes, signing of contracts, appears to be running ahead of the normal calendar both in the U.S. and internationally.
Although it appears that a few veteran teams are departing, there will be a few new teams joining the WSHL for the next season both in the U.S. and Canada. More information will be forthcoming as the decisions are made regarding the likelihood and structure of the 2020-2021 season in regards to the legislative release as to social distancing, small group gatherings, travel restrictions, etc., due strictly to the Coronavirus effects on all of us.
Assuming the season isn't pushed back on the calendar due to the effects of the Coronavirus, we have scheduled to start the season the first weekend of October, the Showcase will be Dec. 18-21 in Las Vegas, NV, with playoffs beginning the 2nd weekend in March 2021. If for some reason beyond our control the season is pushed back on the calendar, we will make the necessary adjustments to complete the season in the best manner possible.
Those interested players should reach out to the league at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Likewise since the formal season calendar is fluid at the moment, there is still the possibility to add the right team(s) in the right location(s) and those interested should also contact us by email at the above address.
In the Spirit of legendary hockey coach Bob Johnson, "ITS A GREAT DAY FOR HOCKEY", so let's hope that comes sooner than later.
The WSHL with 26 seasons under its belt has never found itself with the incredible decision it has had to deal with over the last week. What started out as a regional issue in a distant country, in a period of 4 weeks has become “everyone’s” problem. With the spread globally of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) we like many industrial corporations, countries, states, national sports organizations find ourselves having to not only consider the safety of our membership, but the community as a whole.
In the abundance of caution and consideration for the safety of all, last week the WSHL made the decision to restrict and withdraw three teams from the Northwest Division schedule, even with 2 of the Washington teams who would be moving onto playoffs because of the possible exposure to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) by members of a team. This was not a cavalier decision on our part, although given the negative comments on social media by people who obviously don’t consider the safety of others, we were painted as the “bad guys.” That abundance of caution was originally made specific to the Washington based teams because of the exposure.
As of 10:00 pm Wednesday March 11, in follow-up to our initial decision based totally on player, staff, spectator, community safety, the WSHL Executive Committee with the approval of the Board of Governors meeting which has taken place at 11:00am Thursday March 12 has terminated the 2019-2020 season, including the league Championship Event – the Thorne Cup.
However, we strongly believe given the circumstances it is the best decision, and was unanimously approved by the board of governors of the WSHL.
Western States Hockey League
Ron White, President