Wild off

Wenatchee Wild netminder Andy Vlaha and his teammates are now free agents, after the club announced it is going dark for the 2020-21 season.

The lone American club in the B.C. Hockey League has pulled the plug on its 2020-21 season as a result of complications arising from the pandemic – not the least of which are international travel restrictions.

The Wenatchee Wild have now released all of their roster players, who are free to sign elsewhere.

“This is a sad day for the Wenatchee Wild organization,” general manager Bliss Littler said in a press release.

“We feel for our players, housing families, fans, season ticket holders, corporate sponsors and the Town Toyota Center. It’s not a good day for any of us. This will hurt for a while for sure, but I know we will get through this and we will be back better than ever for the 2021-2022 season.”

Since joining the league in 2015-16, the Wild have enjoyed tremendous success, including a Fred Page Cup playoff championship in 2017-18.

Wenatchee, which developed a natural rivalry with the Penticton Vees, finished fourth in the Interior Division in 2019-20, and were ousted from the first round of the playoffs in five games by the Vernon Vipers.

“I will challenge the hockey operations staff building next year’s team to recruit harder and smarter than ever,” said Littler.

“We will challenge our front office to upgrade everything we do. We are proud of the show we put on right now, but want make it the most entertaining event in junior hockey.”

The BCHL is set to start its regular season Dec. 4. The junior A loop was set to drop the puck Dec. 2, but that was bumped back by new provincial health orders issued last week.