Kelowna’s Alex Swetlikoff fistbumps teammates after a win over the Seattle Thunderbirds on March 6. (Photo: Marissa Baecker/Kelowna Rockets Images)

Kelowna’s Alex Swetlikoff fistbumps teammates after a win over the Seattle Thunderbirds on March 6. (Photo: Marissa Baecker/Kelowna Rockets Images)

Western Hockey League minimizing physical contact to address COVID-19

Contact with fans, handshakes eliminated as league hopes to mitigate potential spread

The Western Hockey League has joined other professional sports league in implementing protocols to combat the spread of COVID-19.

In a statement made on Tuesday, the WHL has advised all teams and officials to follow a number of recommendations to minimize contact to hopefully mitigate potential spreading of COVID-19.

“The safety of our players, officials, staff, fans, and the general public, remains of the utmost importance,” reads the WHL statement.

As of March 10, the following recommendations were made for all WHL games going forward:

  • 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 WHL is advising players and club personnel to maintain good hygiene practices, including regular and thorough washing of hands with soap and water, or cleansing with alcohol-based hand sanitizers.”

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Medical staff of all 22 teams in the WHL have been provided with information from regional health authorities on the transmission and symptoms of COVID-19.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has stated that the health risk associated with coronavirus remains low in Canada.

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