B.C. Hockey League officials have been forced to postpone the start of the regular season.
Teams were expect to begin play Dec. 2, but the provincial health office last week banned most travel until at least Dec. 7 in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The BCHL is now hoping to drop the puck Dec. 8.
“If the PHO extends their current restrictions beyond Dec. 7, we have the option of moving the start date to after the holidays, but it is our intention to begin play once the current order expires”, said BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb said in a press release Monday.
“Our objective from the beginning, when we worked out our COVID-19 safety plan with the PHO, was to allow our players to have a season, but we want to make sure it is under the safest conditions possible.”
“Should the season start be delayed past Dec. 8, the players that choose to go home for the holidays will be required to adhere to travel guidelines, including going into isolation for 14 days prior to joining their team,” added BCHL executive director Steven Cocker.
A revised regular-season schedule will be released in the coming weeks for a Dec. 8 start.
Once it does get underway, the Penticton Vees will have a new body on the blue line.
Owen Forfellow, 18, comes to Penticton after playing each of the last two seasons with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the BC Major Midget League.
The six-foot-two, 181-pounder notched 14 goals and 19 assists for 33 points in 65 career games with the T-Birds, including accumulating 114 penalty minutes in that span.
The Abbotsford native was able to get into some BC Hockey League action last season, affiliating with the Coquitlam Express for a pair of games. Forfellow also played two seasons at the Yale Hockey Academy in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League prior to his time with Fraser Valley.
In a corresponding roster move, the Vees have released defenseman Jason Marsella from the roster.
Marsella, 17, played last season with Avon Old Farms School in the United States High School Prep circuit. He scored once in seven exhibition games for the Vees during the recently concluded Okanagan Cup.