The Spokane Braves (white jerseys) will not participate in the upcoming 2021-22 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season due to travel uncertainty between Canada and the United States. (File photo)

The Spokane Braves (white jerseys) will not participate in the upcoming 2021-22 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season due to travel uncertainty between Canada and the United States. (File photo)

Spokane opts out of KIJHL season

American club cites travel uncertainty between Canada and the U.S. for dropping out

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League will be missing the international part of its league in 2021-22.

The Spokane Braves will not participate in the upcoming KIJHL season, the league announced Wednesday, Aug. 18.

The decision comes as the result of continued uncertainty surrounding travel between Canada and the United States due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Spokane Braves are very disappointed not to be able to participate in the upcoming KIJHL season,” says Braves owner Bob Tobiason. “We would like to thank all our volunteers and prospective players for their understanding. We look forward to rejoining the league in 2022.”

KIJHL commissioner Jeff Dubois said the Braves have been a valued member of the league for many years and were excited to celebrate a successful 50th season for KIJHL hockey in the American city.

“Unfortunately, we have reached a point where certainty around cross-border travel was necessary for all parties, including the Braves’ ownership group, facility, players and staff,” said Dubois. “We are unable to proceed without knowing that the Braves and their Kootenay Conference opponents would be able to cross the border, and so this difficult decision was made.”

A revised 2021/22 KIJHL regular-season schedule will be released once adjustments are made to reschedule games involving the nine remaining teams from the Kootenay Conference’s Neil Murdoch and Eddie Mountain divisions.

Teams in the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference’s Bill Ohlhausen and Doug Birks divisions were not slated to play the Kootenay Conference teams in 2021-22.

READ MORE: Vaccines required for all in KIJHL

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