Two more Sask. WHL teams cleared to resume activities after COVID-induced pause

The Regina Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors have joined the Swift Current Broncos as Saskatchewan-based Western Hockey League teams recently cleared to end their COVID-induced pause of team activities.

Regina Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors had previously paused all team activities

The Regina Pats were among more than a dozen teams included in an announcement on Friday that their activities had been paused. Pictured here, the Pats acknowledge the crowd after being defeated by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan following the Memorial Cup final in 2018. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

The Moose Jaw Warriors and Regina Pats have been cleared to resume all team activities, in accordance with Western Hockey League COVID-19 protocols, the league said on Saturday.

On Friday, the league announced 15 teams had recently paused activities after multiple players or staff had been added to its COVID-19 protocol list due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive for COVID.

In Saskatchewan, they included the Warriors, the Pats, the Saskatoon Blades and Prince Albert Raiders.

The other WHL teams that had activities paused as of Friday were the Winnipeg ICE, Calgary Hitmen, Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton Oil Kings, Medicine Hat Tigers, Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Spokane Chiefs, Tri-City Americans, Victoria Royals and Prince George Cougars — although the Americans joined the Pats and Warriors as teams that were cleared as of Saturday.

The WHL also announced on Saturday that the Vancouver Giants have paused all team activities.

Meanwhile, the Swift Current Broncos were among two WHL teams cleared to resume team activities on Friday. The Lethbridge Hurricanes were the other club.

The league announced on Dec. 30 that the Broncos' team activities were being paused as a result of four players being on the WHL COVID-19 protocol list.

The Warriors were among three teams whose activities were paused this past Tuesday after multiple players and staff were added to the league's protocol list.

On Wednesday, the league announced a home-and-home series between the Pats and Blades scheduled for this weekend was being postponed because multiple players and staff had been added to the protocol list.

The following day, the same reason was given for the postponement of a home-and-home between the Raiders and Broncos, also scheduled for this weekend.

All five Saskatchewan teams are among the WHL clubs that have had games postponed in recent weeks, but the league said it plans on finishing the season in its entirety.

"The WHL and our member clubs remain fully committed to playing through the 68-game WHL regular season schedule and playoffs," WHL Commissioner Ron Robison said in a release on Friday.

"On behalf of the entire WHL, I wish to thank WHL fans and corporate partners everywhere for their patience as we work to reschedule games in the coming weeks."

WHL commissioner Ron Robison maintains the league and its clubs are committed to a 68-game regular season and playoffs. (@TheWHL/Twitter )

WHL clubs are responsible for monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 among players and hockey operations staff on a daily basis, the league said.

It said if a player or hockey operations staff member exhibits symptoms, the individual completes a rapid antigen test and isolates. If the rapid antigen test result is positive, the individual is sent for a PCR test to confirm the positive result and determine next steps.

If there are multiple rapid antigen positive test results, all team activities are paused immediately, the league said. The entire team completes one round of PCR testing and isolates until the results are received and the WHL chief medical officer reviews the situation.

The WHL also has a mandatory vaccination policy that requires all roster players, hockey operations staff and other team and league office personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a Health Canada-approved vaccine.