COVID-19: B.C. offered as potential NHL reboot location, and Vancouver reopens Langara Golf Course

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      As British Columbia advances toward reopening various sectors suspended after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, both the provincial government and the City of Vancouver are working on ways to restart sports that will protect players and the public.

      After her B.C. modelling presentation on May 4, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who admitted she is a hockey fan, said that “hockey would be one that we could certainly look at”, if conducted with health precautions in place.

      Dr. Henry explained that she has been part of a World Health Organization group that looks at mass gatherings, which has been considering ways of how sports events could be held safely.

      That may change some aspects of how hockey games have been traditionally held.

      “I would not see there being an in-ice audience, for example, but we could broadcast the games and there’s ways that players can take precautions to ensure there’s physical distancing and, you know, when we think of hockey, which I love, people are wearing face masks so there’s ways that players are protected when they’re on the ice,” she said.

      When the B.C. government revealed its plan for reopening the province yesterday (May 6), Premier John Horgan said that when it comes to sports, they will focus first on baseball and other summer activities.

      He added that they be working on planning for hockey, from youth to adult leagues, into the autumn, and Horgan has already been preparing for an NHL reboot.

      “I have written to the head of the NHL, as well as the NHL Players Association, to offer British Columbia as a place to potentially restart the NHL, assuming that the games will be played without audiences but instead will be played for television,” he said.

      However, the future of Canadian football remains uncertain.

      “Unfortunately, the B.C. Lions need to have bums in seats and I don’t see that happening but we’ll be working with the CFL as well, which also creates economic activity within our community,” he said.

      Langara Golf Course.
      City of Vancouver

      Golfing in Vancouver

      While B.C. figures out ways to restart various sports, the City of Vancouver has been slowly reopening sporting spaces.

      Last week, the Vancouver Park Board reopened two golf courses (as well as VanDusen Botanical Garden) on May 1: Fraserview and McCleery. Since their reopening, available daily tee times have had been booked by over 90 percent already.

      Next week, a third golf course—Langara Golf Course—will reopen on May 15.

      The reopening will feature the new health safety protocols implemented at the other two courses, including online bookings and cashless payments only, limited tee times, a single-rider cart policy, sanitization of carts after use, no rental clubs available, and other measures to prevent contact with surfaces. 

      In addition, Langara’s clubhouse will remain closed as it is being used to prepare thousands of daily meals for Downtown Eastside’s vulnerable residents as part of a joint effort with the City of Vancouver.

      Perimeter trails will be open during the day for public access.

      Full details are available at the City of Vancouver website.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.