Finish of the road arrives for college sports activities

End of the line arrives for university sports

Former NHL participant and Ottawa Senator, and now one of many Carleton College Ravens’ coaches, Shaun Van Allen (centre).


The indicators that the tip was close to have been in every single place, however cross-town rivals Shaun Van Allen of the Carleton Ravens and Patrick Grandmaître of the Ottawa Gee-Gees have been nonetheless holding on to hope that the college hockey season may one way or the other be salvaged.

Till Thursday, that’s, when USports, the governing physique for Canadian college sport, cancelled all sanctioned occasions and championships till the tip of the college 12 months on account of COVID-19 issues. That features hockey, basketball, volleyball, monitor and area, swimming and wrestling. The autumn sports activities season had beforehand been worn out.

There are roughly 20,000 college student-athletes in Canada.

“I really feel dangerous for the gamers, particularly all the fellows of their final years, attempting to get their levels, however who might be executed (with college) and transfer on, who aren’t going to get yet one more likelihood,” Van Allen stated Friday.

“Our athletes are higher college students once they have hockey.”

Grandmaître, whose crew is loaded with younger gamers, provided comparable sentiments.

The Gee-Gees have been on the nationwide championships final March when the arrival of the pandemic worn out the event.

“Final season ended so abruptly and now this one is cancelled,” stated Grandmaître, who had been crossing his fingers USports would announce a delay to the beginning of sports activities, however not an outright cancellation.

“It has been a wrestle by means of observe and coaching. We haven’t had a full week right here with out modifying one thing right here or there. It’s a attempting time. We’re not on the lookout for pity. We perceive that lots of people have been affected, getting sick, dropping jobs.”

Whereas most college lessons are on-line, gamers have had the chance to observe. However the exercise protocols have been consistently altering, based mostly on the requirements set by well being officers in Ottawa and Ontario.

After the ice had opened up for extra gamers in September, the latest second wave in Ottawa has resulted in one other step again. A most of 10 skaters — together with coaches — are allowed on the ice at any time. There are additionally strict limits to dressing room entry.

At this level, Van Allen says, Carleton isn’t going to face in the best way of any choice a student-athlete desires to make.

If a participant has an choice to play professionally — both in Europe, the place video games are being performed or within the ECHL, which may re-start within the New 12 months — the college will stand behind them. He additionally acknowledges that some out of province gamers may have entry to raised coaching choices in components of the nation the place there are fewer instances of COVID-19.

“There are 20 completely different choices, what can we do greatest for the fellows?,” he stated.

“Do what’s greatest for you. No judgements are being made. When you assume you’ve gotten a job at house or have higher choices skating at house, that that’s extra helpful, then do it. You probably have a possibility to play professional hockey and also you’re nonetheless working in the direction of your diploma, I’ll assist you to pack.”

Once more, Grandmaître is on the identical web page.

“The blokes can take no matter choices they should,” he stated. “We will’t maintain scholar athletes again. If a child is from Winnipeg and that’s a yellow zone (versus a extra restrictive purple zone) and there’s extra to do there, he may resolve to go house. There’s zero strain. However we are going to present a workframe right here with ice, coaching and assist.”

The cancellation of nationwide college championships obtained unanimous assist from USports board of administrators, together with the nation’s 4 sports activities associations — Ontario College Athletics, Atlantic College Sport, Réseau du sport étudiant du Quebec and Canada West. It’s the primary time since 1961 that no nationwide college champions might be topped.

“We needed to take issues one step at a time,” Lisette Johnson Stapley, chief sports activities officer for U Sports activities, informed CBC.

“That is an unprecedented state of affairs. We hoped that issues would change, {that a} vaccine can be discovered or there was a way we may nonetheless maintain (nationwide titles).”

The communities scheduled to carry Canadian championships are going through well being challenges. “Timing was vital for us with this choice. Some scholar athletes need to know if they need to keep for the time period or not.”

There may very well be a risk of exhibition video games within the New 12 months — possibly the Ravens and Gee-Gees may play one another — however there are numerous obstacles that have to cleared earlier than that’s a risk.

“You might have a have a perception that issues will get higher the following day, the following week,” stated Grandmaître. “I really feel like we’ve taken so many blows. I need to quick ahead three years down the highway the place we will say, ‘do you do not forget that time when there was no hockey?’”


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