The WHL said Thursday afternoon that “at this time” weekend games scheduled for the Pacific Northwest will proceed.
As of early Thursday evening, 70 people in Washington state had been diagnosed with COVID-19. That includes 11 people who have died. Fifty-one of those cases, and 10 of the deaths, have occurred in King County whose county seat is Seattle.
The Everett Silvertips are to play host to the Tri-City Americans tonight (Friday) and the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday.
On Sunday, the Silvertips are to visit the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash.
The Silvertips are second in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Portland Winterhawks. The Thunderbirds, who are to visit the Kelowna Rockets tonight, are in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot.
On Thursday, Cassie Franklin, the mayor of Everett, took part in a news conference that also involved the Snohomish Health District. Among the recommendations announced was to avoid “non-essential gatherings/large groups of 50+ people and postponing/cancelling events if possible.”
Later, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was quoted in a statement as saying the league, the Silvertips and Thunderbirds “are closely monitoring the public health developments” in the Pacific Northwest.”
He added that “at this time,” weekend games in Everett and Kent, Wash., the home of the Thunderbirds, will go ahead.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the immediate health risk to the United States public is low,” Robison said in the statement. “We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will adopt additional health and safety measures as recommended by local health authorities.”
The Seattle Times has a look right here at other sporting events scheduled for that area, including Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders, who are planning to go ahead with a Saturday night home game.
Meanwhile, officials in B.C. announced eight new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, all on the Lower Mainland, bringing the province’s total positives to 21. That includes four patients who have recovered.
The Vancouver Giants, who play out of the Langley Events Centre, are next scheduled to play at home on March 13 against Seattle. The Giants will visit the Thunderbirds on March 14, then play host to the Prince George Cougars on March 15.
ICYMI, baseball’s West Coast League will have a franchise in Nanaimo, B.C., beginning with the 2021 season. The team, which doesn’t yet have a name, will be the WCL’s 13th team and will be owned by the group that operates the Victoria HarbourCats. That group includes former Prince George Citizen sports editor Jim Swanson, who is the managing partner and will oversee operations with both franchises. . . . The wood-bat league features teams in B.C., Washington and Oregon. . . . There is a news release on Thursday’s announcement right here.
If the Brandon Wheat Kings finish third or fourth in the WHL’s East Division, they will get bumped from Westoba Place for the first round and will play their home games in Virden. . . . The Wheat Kings go into weekend play in second place in the East Division, five points ahead of the Winnipeg Ice and seven up on the Saskatoon Blades.