All games in the KIJHL have been suspended until further notice. Black Press file photo

All games in the KIJHL have been suspended until further notice. Black Press file photo

Midway through playoffs, KIJHL suspends all games until further notice

Hockey playoff games in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) are suspended until further notice.

For March 12 the decision cancels matches between Princeton Posse and Kelowna Chiefs, Kimberly Dynamiters and Columbia Valley Rockies, Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Nelson Leafs, and Revelstoke Grizzlies and 100 Mile House Wranglers.

The league issued the following statement mid-afternoon Thursday:

“The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has decided to indefinitely suspend ongoing playoff games due to concerns regarding COVID-19.

The KIJHL has taken steps to communicate with B.C. Hockey, who is taking direction from health authorities. The health and safety of everyone involved in the league is our top priority.

When the KIJHL has more information with regards to its playoffs, the league will make an announcement.”

Princeton Posse coach Mark McNaughton, who was prepping his team for game 3 of a 1-1 playoff series, had a philosophical outlook.

“It is what it is.”

The Posse will hold a team meeting later in the day, however under the ruling they will not be allowed to practice.

“We’re in a holding pattern right now.”

Posse president Randy McLean expressed disappointment but understanding.

“People’s safety has to be considered first.”

Related: COVID-19 puts fate of BCHL season in question

Related: Rockets’ season suspended as Canadian Hockey League reacts to COVID-19

Earlier this week BC Hockey issued an advisory to its members directing them to take precautions.

Staff members are to wear gloves when handling towels and laundry, towels and water bottles are not to be shared on the bench, and players are not to shake hands, rather they should fist bump with gloves.

A regulation requiring officials officials and coaches to shake hands has also been suspended.

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