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Winterhawks will play only within U.S. Division; season delayed another month

The Western Hockey League on Wednesday, Oct. 14, announced a new start date for its 2020-21 season.

Play is now scheduled to begin on Jan. 8, 2021, and teams will only play within their own divisions. So, if the season happens, the Portland Winterhawks will play only against Seattle, Everett, Spokane and Tri-City.

Players will report to their teams after the normal Christmas break.

The schedule will be finalized at a later date.

WHL commissioner Ron Robison previously stated that the league would only play games when fans are able to attend games. Wednesday's announcement said a final determination has not been made whether spectators will be allowed to attend games — of course.

The league's statement indicated the league will continue to work with local government and health authorities in an attempt to safely stage a season.

Also Wednesday, the WHL announced it appointed the doctor who was the National Hockey League's medical director for its Edmonton hub during the recent Stanley Cup playoffs as the WHL Chief Medical Advisor. Dr. Dhiren Naidu of Edmonton is the team doctor for the Edmonton Oilers and for Edmonton's Canadian Football League team.

Naidu will assist the league with implementing a COVID-19 related health and safety protocol.


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