The Western Hockey League announce Thursday it will open the 2020-2021 season on Friday, December 4th.

Officials say this date is contingent on receiving the necessary approvals from the government and health authorities in each of the six provincial and state jurisdictions in WHL territory.

Commissioner Ron Robison says “Regardless of our start date, the WHL is committed to playing a full Regular Season and Playoffs in 2020-21. “In our discussions with the government and health authorities, it has become apparent that additional time is required to ensure we can return to play in a safe and responsible manner. Our WHL health and safety protocols have been well received by the health authorities but we have several key issues that we will need to reach a resolution on in the coming months.”

The league says it will continue to have regular discussions with government and health authorities on the extensive safety measures the WHL is prepared to take to protect players, staff , and fans, and to address key issues like spectator capacities and border crossings.