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Mass local sports cancellations in light of COVID-19

Sports teams and athletes in Airdrie and Rocky View County were left reeling March 12, as a horde of local and regional sporting associations announced tournament cancellations and postponements in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and a government directive to halt gatherings of more than 250 people.

The Alberta Schools Athletic Association (ASAA) announced its 2020 provincial high school basketball championships, scheduled for March 19 to 21, would be “postponed indefinitely.”

Hockey Alberta also brought the 2019-20 season to a premature halt with its announcement that all Hockey Alberta-sanctioned activities would be cancelled, effective March 13. The events include league games, playoffs, practices, camps and provincial, regional and national championships.

Swim Alberta announced it would postpone the 2020 Short Course Provincials, scheduled for March 13 to 15, as well as the 2020 Spring Championships, slated to be held in Edmonton the following weekend. Members of the Nose Creek Swim Association, based out of Airdrie, would have competed in the events.

“As Swim Alberta watches the cancellation of many sporting and cultural events across our nation and worldwide, we recognize that a decision needs to be made around the health and safety of our membership and the greater community,” the statement from Swim Alberta reads. “Alberta Health Services has asked that organizations assess the level of risk as it relates to mass gatherings and make a determination.

“Swim Alberta believes it is in the best interest of our membership, after reviewing the Mass Gathering Assessment tool provided by the Government of Canada, to postpone our provincial events.”

The Calgary Spring Football Association – the league the Airdrie Raiders midget football team plays in – also announced it would temporarily cease all league operations.

“That means that no CSFA team should be holding practices, meetings or gatherings of any nature,” reads a statement from the league’s president Greg Peterson. “We will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and let you know if there is any change of plans.”

Further cancellations came from Alberta Soccer, which stated the upcoming 2020 indoor provincial championships for minor and senior age groups would be postponed.

“As a leader in provincial sport, Alberta Soccer is motivated to assist Albertans to remain safe and healthy,” read a statement from the Alberta Soccer board of directors. “By minimizing contact with infected individuals and/or surfaces, we are supporting the Alberta Government’s endeavour to contain the spread of the virus within our cities and towns.

“While we understand that this decision may be disappointing to many Alberta Soccer members, we ultimately decided that the many uncontrollable factors considered pose too much of a risk to the health and safety of Alberta Soccer stakeholders and all Albertans.”

The statement noted details on the re-scheduling of the 2020 indoor provincial championships would be shared with members “as soon as possible.”

At the university level, U SPORTS announced it would be cancelling its national championship tournaments for volleyball and hockey. The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) issued a similar statement, saying all ACAC competitions would be cancelled, effective immediately.

“The ACAC regrets the impact of this decision on the athletes, coaches and host institutions who have committed considerable time and effort this season,” the statement reads. “However, the health and safety of all are of paramount importance.”

The Airdrie Cochrane Athletic Association, which oversees the municipalities’ three AAA minor hockey teams, announced its annual awards banquet, scheduled for April 1, would be postponed. Similarly, the Airdrie Techmation Thunder junior B hockey team announced its end-of-season sponsor and team wind-up dinner March 14 would also be rescheduled.

Other sporting organizations that announced cancellations included Ringette Alberta, which announced all sanctioned events would be put to a halt, effective immediately, and Curling Alberta, which cancelled all remaining competitions for the 2019-20 season.

Scott Strasser

About the Author: Scott Strasser

Scott Strasser, editor
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