Skip to content

Pandemic claims provincial Junior B championship for second straight year

Junior B hockey teams, like the Port Moody Panthers, won't be able to play for a provincial championship this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
0122-JuniorBHockeyFile 1w
The Port Moody Panthers junior hockey team is playing its home games at the Richmond Oval as it awaits a decision by Port Moody council whether dressing rooms in the city's arenas should be opened.

The continuing COVID-19 pandemic means there will be no provincial Junior B hockey champion decided for two years running.

BC Hockey recently announced the cancellation of this year’s Cyclone Taylor Cup, that was to be hosted by the Pacific Junior Hockey League at the Ladner Leisure Centre April 8 to 11. The annual tournament brings together the champions of the PJHL, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, as well as the host team, to determine the top Junior B team in British Columbia

The cup, named for Hockey Hall of Famer Fred “Cyclone” Taylor, who led the old Vancouver Millionaires to the city’s only Stanley Cup championship in 1915, has been contested since 1967. It switched to a four-team round-robin format in 2004.

Last year’s championship, that was scheduled to be played at 100 Mile House, was also a casualty of the pandemic’s early days

PJHL commissioner Trevor Alto said the tournament’s cancellation will allow the three Junior B leagues in the province to concentrate on formulating their own plans for returning to play. Also cancelled were the 2021 prospects game and the 2021 all-star game against the top players from the VIJHL.

PJHL teams, including the Port Moody Panthers, had launched a 36-game schedule in which the league’s 13 members were grouped into regional cohorts last Oct. 15. But it was abruptly shut down after provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced strict new public health guidelines that went into effect Nov. 7 and have been subsequently extended until at least Feb. 5.

The Panthers won two of the eight games it managed to play, losing four and dropping two more in overtime. Because of restrictions implemented by the city at the Port Moody recreation centre, the team was forced to play its home games at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

Teams have continued to hold practices for players to work on their skills individually.