The Vernon Vipers and Salmon Arm Silverbacks will meet in the B.C. Hockey League’s 2020 Interior Conference final.
Well, yes, the on-ice BCHL season was canceled due to COVID-19, but the league is having fun with the situation off-ice.
With no Fred Page Cup being awarded for the 2019-20 season, the league has decided to go in another direction. They’ve partnered with the remaining eight playoff teams and their players to launch an NHL 20 simulation of the Shaw BCHL Playoffs.
“The format has a player representative from each team that would have matched up in the second round go head to head online in NHL 20 to determine the winner of the simulated series,” said BCHL communications officer Jesse Adamson. “The league has created BCHL players, teams and jerseys in the game to make it as authentic a BCHL experience as possible.”
The series are packaged into highlight reels that include BCHL broadcasters, including the Vipers’ Graham Turnbull, as well as videos of the participating players.
Vernon Vipers defenceman Trey Taylor took on Conner Hutchinson of the Penticton Vees in the NHL 20 simulation with Taylor and the Vipers winning the series in seven games in Penticton. Matt Kowalski appears to have scored the series-winning goal for Vernon.
The Silverbacks beat the Trail Smoke Eaters in the other simulated Interior Conference semifinal, meaning the top two teams in the regular season in the conference have been eliminated.
“The BCHL season may have been canceled, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a bit of fun during this unfortunate downtime,” said Adamson.