The Western Hockey League announced today it has been granted approval by the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health to return to play, which will enable the WHL’s Alberta-based teams in the Central Division to open their season on Friday, February 26.

“The WHL appreciates the support we have received from Alberta Health as we work towards a safe return to play in the province,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “With our extensive protocols and the necessary approvals now in place, we are looking forward to play getting underway in Alberta and allowing our players to continue their development at the highest level in the Canadian system.”

Five WHL Clubs, which operate in Alberta, will form the Central Division, including the Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers, and Calgary Hitmen. The WHL has agreed that all Central Division games during the 2020-21 Regular Season will be played exclusively within the provincial boundaries of Alberta.

The WHL’s Central Division will play a 24-game Regular Season schedule, which will be announced at a later date. The WHL Central Division schedule will commence on Friday, February 26. Based on the approved WHL protocols, the schedule will allow for a maximum of one opponent per week, with a five-day break prior to playing a new opponent. As a result, WHL Central Division games will be played on weekends and consist of home-and-home games only.

The WHL has developed an extensive set of protocols, to not only provide a safe environment for players and staff, but to protect Albertans in the community.