EDMONTON -- The University of Alberta's men's and women's hockey teams will be eligible to compete in the 2020-21 season should Canada West play take place. 

Previously, the school had announced it would be sitting out any upcoming season across a number of sports due to financial constraints. 

But, new financial support from donors appears to have saved the hockey teams' seasons, should they be cleared to play, according to the Canada West conference. 

The U of A had missed the Canada West's June 30 deadline to declare which, if any, of its teams would be participating. 

On Thursday, the conference granted the Golden Bears and Pandas an exemption, citing the realities of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Our Canada West Board understands that we are not dealing with business as usual, and that flexibility is required to ensure we do everything possible to allow our members to navigate these uncertain times. If it's determined that a Canada West hockey schedule is possible for this season, we are pleased that the University of Alberta’s Golden Bears and Pandas programs will take part," said Clint Hamilton, Canada West president. 

The school did not make a similar request for its basketball and volleyball teams. 

Canada West says it's hopeful of beginning its eight-team regular season in January, with a decision on scheduling to be made by Oct. 8.