Chilliwack’s Valley Huskers won’t play in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of junior football seasons across the country

The Valley Huskers are going to be left on the sideline in 2020, thanks to COVID-19.

The Canadian Junior Football League, which includes the B.C. Football Conference, announced Aug. 6 that it’s not feasible to operate a regular season or playoffs, and the CJFL is turning its attention to 2021.

“It is very disappointing to make this announcement today, but our priority is the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff, and team administrators,” said CJFL Commissioner Jim Pankovich.

Having 50-plus players on buses traveling to road games was a shaky idea during a pandemic, and the physical in-your-face nature of football makes it nearly impossible to physically distance during games.

READ MORE: Valley Huskers read to roll if BCFC season goes ahead

READ MORE: Chaotic offseason for Chilliwack’s Valley Huskers

With bans on large gatherings still in place, having 100-plus players and a dozen or more coaches at Chilliwack’s Exhibition Field, even with no fans in the stands, was a non-starter.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have followed all public health guidelines and will continue to support them in the future,” the CJFL’s news release said. “Unfortunately, at this stage, return to play guidelines do not allow for large enough gatherings to make training and competition safe for our athletes.

“Despite our hope that the situation in Canada would improve and allow for the CJFL to proceed with the 2020 season, the health and safety challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing risk to our players, coaches and staffs make it unfeasible for the CJFL teams to compete in 2020.”

Off the field, it was going to be financially challenging for several teams, including the Huskers. With local businesses struggling, sponsorship would have taken a hit, and with the likelihood of no paying fans, the team would have struggled to make ends meet.

But Huskers president Jean Hincks said the team will be okay.

It’s sad, but the health of our players is the most important factor in the season and the virus doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon!” she said. “We are going to focus on building a strategy for success. We have a great board and I know we’re going to do great things next year.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

BCFCchilliwackFootball

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Last day of summer should be pleasant across the Fraser Valley

With fresh air, some sunshine in the forecast nothing to complain about as fall arrives tomorrow

Young Abbotsford cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

Abbotsford parents upset as district gets cohort exemption to maximize class sizes at elementary school

Classes and cohorts shuffled after division eliminated at King Traditional elementary school

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Most Read