(Victoria Royals' Matthew Smith / Twitter)

In a statement released today, March 10th, the Western Hockey has announced they will continue to closely monitor public health developments surrounding COVID-19.

The WHL has stated that in the interest of the safety of their players, officials, staff, fans, and the general public, they will be taking all necessary precautions, as advised by Canadian and U.S. health authorities, to stop the potential spread of COVID-19.

All of the 22 WHL teams and their medical and training staff have been provided with information from their regional health authorities advising on the transmission of COVID-19, as well as the common symptoms associated with the virus.

As is the protocol, in the event players or club personnel begin exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they are to report to medical staff immediately.

On top of the advisement to maintain good hygiene practices, including regular and thorough washing of hands with soap and water, or cleansing with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, the WHL has a few new recommendations to minimize contact:

  • Elimination of handshakes between teammates, opponents, officials;
  • No sharing of water bottles or towels on benches or penalty box areas;
  • Avoid direct contact with fans, including high-fives, handshakes, and autographing of items.

The NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer announced recently that they have closed access to locker rooms and clubhouses to all non-essential personnel in response to the coronavirus crisis.

As standard WHL Media Policy defines club dressing rooms as restricted areas, all media opportunities are to be conducted in designated media areas outside Club dressing rooms.