The Ringette BC Provincial Championships, expected to bring approximately 450 athletes to Salmon Arm this weekend, has been cancelled.
As of 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, the March 11-15 event was set to proceed as planned at Shaw Centre, as well as rinks in Sicamous and Enderby. Later in the day, however, the B.C. government announced a ban on all events with more than 250 people.
On Thursday evening, Ringette BC announced the provincial championships would be cancelled.
Shuswap Ringette, which was to host the event, posted a letter to their Facebook page Thursday evening from Ringette BC executive director Nicole Robb. It the letter, Robb said BC Ringette would be following the direction of Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry regarding the cancellation of any gatherings of 250 or more people.
“We understand the impact that this scenario has on the ringette community, and thank you in advance for your patience and understanding,” said Robb. “The health and safety of our players and families, our volunteers and the rest of the ringette community is our priority.
“The Ringette BC Board of Directors will work with the host community and the City of Salmon Arm moving forward, and thank them for the tremendous amount of effort that was put into planning this event.”
Robb adds Ringette BC is unsure if registration refunds would be available, and will continue to provide information as it becomes available.
Salmon Arm will be shifting the spotlight from Hometown Hockey to ringette this weekend, with provincial championship action taking place at Shaw Centre, as well as rinks in neighbouring communities.
Thirty-one teams with approximately 450 athletes are expected to be in Salmon Arm March 13-15 for the B.C. Provincial B and Open A and B Championships, hosted by Shuswap Ringette.
Leigh Robinson, Shuswap Ringette president, said a local U14 team and an Open A team will be competing.
Regarding the number of teams participating, Robinson said a more committed to playing than anticipated, necessitating the ice time in Sicamous and Enderby.
“We were expecting kind of 20-22 teams to be here and it ended up being much larger,” said Robinson. “Almost every team available to commit to provincials committed this year. So every hotel is full.
“Ringette is going to take over the entire city this weekend.”
Robinson said games will be played throughout the weekend starting Friday morning at 7 a.m., to Sunday afternoon in all three communities.
“We’re a small location so we’re a little bit overwhelmed right now with the volunteer power that is needed behind it,” said Robinson, adding support is being provided by Ringette BC. “So there’s lots of pieces the province looks after for you so it’s a little less arduous than running your own tournament.”
Games in all three communities are open to the public free of charge. Robinson said it’s an opportunity to watch the game played at a great level.
“The open division, they’re some really seasoned players, they play some really strong ringette.”
Visit shuswapringette.ca for a schedule of all the weekend’s games.