Two B.C. Hockey League exhibition games scheduled for Saturday in Chilliwack have been postponed after one of the Surrey Eagles players tested positive for COVID-19.
The league office was notified Saturday morning about the positive test and that player has been placed in a 14-day quarantine. All of the Eagles players and team staff have been tested and are awaiting results.
The Eagles were supposed to play the Langley Rivermen Saturday afternoon, followed by an evening preseason game between the Coquitlam Express and Chilliwack Chiefs. The teams form a four-team cohort and have been playing their exhibition games at Chilliwack Coliseum.
The league is awaiting further direction from the Fraser Health Authority.
The Prince George Spruce Kings, who played Friday night in Merritt, where they defeated the Centennials 6-2, are set to face Merritt again Sunday afternoon in Prince George at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.
Kings general manager Mike Hawes said his team has been taking the necessary steps to stay away from the general population to minimize the risk of exposure to the deadly virus.
“We know in any walk of life, as careful as you can be, there’s still the risk,” said Hawes. “These players are in bubbles and in cohorts as much as we can, but they still have exposure to other people throughout the community through their billet families and there’s always a risk. There’s always a chance this could happen.”
Four of the Kings’ high-school aged players – defencemen Amran Bhabra and Ben LeFranc, and forwards Max Borovinskiy and Kilian McGregor-Bennett – are taking their classes exclusively online and are not physically attending school and the same can be said for players taking college or university courses.
“We’ve created our own bubble within our team and when they socialize it’s with each other, no one else from the community is allowed to socialize with them at all,” said Hawes. ”We keep the numbers small and there is some protocol that’s been sent out to the billet families from our team and from the league as far as what needs to happen in those situations and the protocol if a player has some symptoms.”
Merritt is the only team the Spruce Kings have played since they began their exhibition schedule two weeks ago. The Kings won’t face the other two teams in their cohort – Cranbrook and Trail – until mid-November, when they travel to the Kootenays.
In Friday’s game, veteran forward Andrew Seaman scored four minutes into the second period and defenceman Mason Waite collected his first goal of the exhibition season a few minutes later to stake the Kings to a 3-1 lead by the midway point of the game. BCHL rookie John Herrington, Tanner Main and former Cent Christian Buono scored in the third period for the visitors to lock up the victory, the second for the Kings in two games against Merritt. Rowan Miller also scored for Prince George. Trevor Isakkson and Jacksenn Hungle were the Merritt goalscorers.
The Kings played well defensively in front of rookie goalie Jordan Fairlie, who blocked 19 of the 21 shots he faced in his first BCHL action. The Kings mustered 28 shots at Merritt goalie Josh Dias.
Prince George went 3-for-5 on the power play, while the Cents connected on one of their five opportunities.
Technical difficulties prevented the webcast of Friday’s game from Merritt on Hockey TV but the bugs should all be worked out for Sunday’s game to allow Kings fans to watch the game, with the arena closed to the public. Game time is 3 p.m.