The Salmon Arm Silverbacks are looking forward to returning to action with the upcoming shortened season recently announced last week by the BCHL. (Salmon Arm Silverbacks/Facebook image)

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks are looking forward to returning to action with the upcoming shortened season recently announced last week by the BCHL. (Salmon Arm Silverbacks/Facebook image)

Salmon Arm Silverbacks excited for return to play

BCHL preparing for series of games with teams divided into pods

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks are going into quarantine as part of preparations underway for their safe return to play.

Last week, the BCHL announced the Office of the Provincial Health Officer had approved the league’s proposal for a five-week series of Junior A games under its COVID-19 plan.

According to the BCHL, the league will operate in a “pod” model where three to four teams will play each other in five different locations across the province. Vernon is among those locations.

The condensed season will begin the first week of April, and a full schedule will be released in coming weeks according to the league.

In a March 12 video responding to the announcement, Silverbacks general manager Brooks Christensen said the team’s players were excited and relieved.

Read more: BC Hockey League announces shortened season will begin in April

Read more: Salmon Arm Silverbacks pull off few tricks in Halloween win over Vernon

Christensen said the team has undergone months of training, working on ice and in the gym five days a week in preparation for the possibility of returning to play. He thanked the players and staff for their ongoing commitment, as well as others in the community whose support for the team has been unwavering, including billet families.

“Our organization is nothing without the billet families that we have, and the impact that they make to our players is just phenomenal and I can’t thank the enough…,” said Christensen.

The BCHL said it has hired a chief medical officer who will oversee all COVID-19 safety protocols for the five-week season, including testing and a quarantine period for players and team staff.

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