In a year that simply has looked like none other in BCHL history, the Bulldogs organization is preparing itself for one final challenge before closing the books on the 2020-2021 season.
The Bulldogs and the BCHL learned last week that their return to play proposal had been accepted by the BC Public Health Office and that their players could hit the ice and compete once again, this time after a near 4 month break. The league will break into “pods” and the Bulldogs will host the Island Division with Nanaimo, Victoria and Cowichan at the Multiplex in an 18-game schedule.
“It’s safe to say it’s been a roller-coaster of emotions” said the Bulldogs President David Michaud. “To finally hear the news that our plan had been accepted and that our players would have the ability to showcase their talents to the NCAA coaches and NHL scouts was music to my ears. There are many BCHL staff and team executives who gave countless hours to help get to this point.”
Michaud was among that group as he sat on the BCHL’s Return to Play committee. That committee was tasked with the challenge of helping lay the framework of the leagues plan that would get the players back on the ice. “Calling the situation a challenge is putting it lightly” laughed Michaud. “That committee was essentially formed back in the spring of 2019 after our BCHL playoffs were cancelled in the 2nd round. We worked very hard in the summer to put together a plan that would have our players on the ice by the fall, and we accomplished that as our league played nearly 100 games in the fall very safely. Unfortunately the PHO changed the ability to travel between communities in late November, and it forced us back to the sidelines.”
Overcoming that latest setback means the world to BCHL players who have essentially practiced non-stop since December. “I’m sure they’re looking forward to hearing the music cranked in the Multiplex and seeing someone wearing an opposition jersey lining up across the ice. I think that will be a special moment.”
BCHL players around the province have, or will soon begin quarantining in advance of the season starting in early April. More news about the other pods and schedules will be made public shortly.