By Justin Seward
The provincial government came out with stricter COVID-19 restrictions to further prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Nov. 24.
One of those restrictions was putting all organized sports on hold for three weeks, a decision that did not sit well with Bow Island Minor Hockey’s president.
“I’m not going to lie, it sucks,” said Chantel Timmons, BIMH president.
“It feels like we spent forever trying to get things all lined up, following all the protocols, getting our parents and kids up to speed and for only a couple weeks of hockey to happen. When the newest announcement came that all organized sports were going to be put on hold until Dec. 15th, we were extremely disappointed. Especially knowing that our teams were considered to be safe cohorts right from the start. So for AHS to say team sports were not safe was disheartening.”
The decision came at a time where players were starting to gel with their cohorts and where BIMH may have found a solution to making a season possible.
“The kids were just getting into it again and it felt like we might just be able to make it work within each team’s cohort groupings for teams to play games against one another, but in the end COVID had other plans,” said Timmons.
A majority of the teams were able to complete at most two to three games before the shutdown, while the U7 team-who do not play in a league- played four games.
“That’s what the kids are in it for- the games- the competition, the chance to show off what they have learned in their practices (and) to play the game they love.”
Timmons would like the province to at least acknowledge the amount a minor hockey association puts into keeping the players safe and BIMH is following the rules.
“We currently utilize a COVID tracking for players to do on the Team Snap platform each time they come to the rink, as well as a health check that has to be completed everyday the player’s plan to attend the rink,” she said.
“Spectators are limited in the arena, as well as mandatory masks within our Bow Island arena. We want ‘our kids’ to remain safe and healthy, but at the same time being able to participate in sport.”
BIMH has not discussed any further return-to-play plan because much like a lot of other associations across the province, they will be waiting for a decision on Dec. 15.
However, if given the green light, the Town of Bow Island is willing to open the arena doors for games again.
“We have had a good working relationship with the Town so far this season, as they know we are ‘flying by the seat of our pants’ when it comes to scheduling, and we have realized they are putting certain restrictions into place to keep the public safe,” said Timmons.
“One thing for sure this season we have to be able to roll with the punches so to speak and whatever happens will happen. We have very little control over it, but if having one cohort are safe why not allow the kids and coaches within that said cohort to keep practicing at the very minimum. That would be a win for us for the interim -possibly until the New Year. If the players could at least return to the rink for practices, sans parents and games for now if we had to. . Let’s not take an entire season from these kids-some of them their last minor hockey season ever. I would hate to see it end like this.”