WHL to open 2020-21 regular season in December

WHL-Commisioner-and-CHL-Vice-President-Ron-Robison-at-the-Canadian-Hockey-League-media-conference-at-the-MasterCard-Memorial-Cup-in-Brandon,-MB-(Aaron-Bell/CHL-Images)

WHL commisioner Ron Robison. (Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

The Western Hockey League will return to action with the start of its 2020-21 regular season on Dec. 4, the league announced Thursday.

The WHL hopes to play a full slate of 68 games, followed by four playoff rounds.

The 2019-20 season and playoffs were postponed in March and later cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Regardless of our start date, the WHL is committed to playing a full regular season and playoffs in 2020-21,” WHL commissioner Ron Robison said in a press release.

“In our discussions with the government and health authorities, it has become apparent that additional time is required to ensure we can return to play in a safe and responsible manner. Our WHL health and safety protocols have been well received by the health authorities but we have several key issues that we will need to reach a resolution on in the coming months.”

The league had previously been targeting an Oct. 2 return.

The Ontario Hockey League made a similar announcement Wednesday, saying it would resume Dec. 1 with a 64-game schedule and 16-team playoff format.

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