WHL says no playoffs for 2020-21 season due to COVID-19 restrictions

CALGARY — There will be no playoffs in the Western Hockey League following the 2020-21 season.

The major junior league announced Monday that the season will conclude following the completion of the 24-game regular season due to COVID-19 concerns.

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The league said in a release that travel restrictions across provincial and international borders in place to try to stem the tide of the global pandemic would make it difficult to conduct a post-season.

The announcement comes a week after the Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella organization for the WHL, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League, cancelled the 2021 Memorial Cup major junior championship due to COVID-19.

The QMJHL is going ahead with a modified playoff format, while the OHL has not received approval from public health authorities to commence its 2020-21 season.

"When we returned to play in February, we set out with the intention of completing a 24-game regular season schedule, knowing adjustments would be needed along the way," WHL Commissioner Ron Robison said in a statement. "We remained hopeful that public health conditions would improve, but unfortunately that is not the reality we see in front of us today."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2021.

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