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WHL to ‘comply’ with Washington gathering ban in response to novel coronavirus

UPDATED: Wed., March 11, 2020

Brandon Reller  of the Spokane Chiefs maintains control of the puck against Olen Zellweger  of the Everett Silvertips during a WHL game at the Spokane Arena on Oct. 6, 2019. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Brandon Reller of the Spokane Chiefs maintains control of the puck against Olen Zellweger of the Everett Silvertips during a WHL game at the Spokane Arena on Oct. 6, 2019. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

CALGARY, Alberta – The Western Hockey League says in a statement it will “comply with the public gathering requirements for the upcoming WHL home games of the Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips” after Washington State’s decision to ban large group events in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday a ban of gatherings and events of more than 250 people in three Western Washington counties, including the greater Seattle area.

The statement said the league, Silvertips and Thunderbirds will be reviewing the remaining regular-season games scheduled in the Seattle area and will provide more information at a later date.

The Thunderbirds, who play south of Seattle in Kent, have three home games remaining this season, including a Tuesday game against the Spokane Chiefs.

Seattle announced its remaining games will be played without fans.

The Silvertips, based north of Seattle, have one home game left on their schedule.

The Silvertips and Chiefs sit second and third, respectively, in the U.S. Division standings. If the standings hold, the teams would face each other in a first-round playoff series later this month.

No plans have been announced for postseason play.

“We take the safety of our players, officials, staff, fans, and everyone associated with the WHL very seriously, and will take every step necessary to assist in containing this virus,” WHL commissioner Ron Robison said.

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