The Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Castlegar Rebels, seen here during a game in December, are among the four KIJHL teams to report positive COVID-19 cases on their rosters. Photo: Jim Bailey

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Castlegar Rebels, seen here during a game in December, are among the four KIJHL teams to report positive COVID-19 cases on their rosters. Photo: Jim Bailey

UPDATED: KIJHL games postponed after teams report COVID-19 cases

Kelowna, Beaver Valley, Castlegar, Chase and Fernie each have infected players

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League says COVID-19 cases on five teams led to the postponement of eight games over the weekend.

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks, Castlegar Rebels, Fernie Ghostriders, Chase Heat and Kelowna Chiefs each have positive cases, according to league announcements.

The Kelowna Chiefs told Black Press Media that nine of its players have tested positive, and more are expected throughout the week. Kelowna’s game Friday at home to the North Okanagan Knights has been postponed.

Castlegar Rebels president Mike Johnstone said eight-to-10 players are exhibiting symptoms. He added not all of them have been tested for COVID-19 as current Interior Heath guidelines don’t allow for testing of double-vaccinated individuals without other risk factors.

“It spread quite quickly around our room and we wanted to cut it off and limit exposure to our players, staff, volunteers and opponents, so the decision was made to cancel the games,” said Johnstone.

Nitehawks president Stephen Piccolo said six players had tested positive and the team is in isolation with all activites paused for five days.

“Omicron is hitting everyone hard it looks like,” said Piccolo. “And I mean everybody — our fan base, the games that we can’t have, and we’re hoping it doesn’t carry into another season.”

The Nitehawks cancelled games versus Castlegar on Friday Jan. 7, and the Golden Rockets on Sunday, Jan. 9.

The league reported Saturday that the Chase Heat also had COVID cases and its games versus the Revelstoke Grizzlies Jan. 8 and Sicamous Eagles Jan. 9 were postponed.

Other Jan. 8 games rescheduled include, Castlegar Rebels at Nelson Leafs and the Fernie Ghostriders at Columbia Valley Rockies.

The infections come despite the KIJHL’s COVID-19 policy, which require every player and staff member to have received two doses of vaccine prior to the start of the season in October.

With files from Jen Zielinski in Kelowna, Betsy Kline in Castlegar and Jim Bailey in Trail.

CoronavirusKIJHL