Sports leagues face cancellations over COVID-19 fears

Cancellations include tournaments, playoffs and regular season games

Various sports leagues across the province have shut down amid COVID-19 fears, including a tournament that was set to bring over 400 athletes to Salmon Arm.

Both the NHL and the B.C. Hockey League are experiencing a halt in season play and a host of tournaments and championships across the southern interior have been cancelled. Among them, the Ringette BC Provincial Championships, expected to bring approximately 450 athletes to Salmon Arm the weekend of March 11-15.

The cancellations are due to the B.C. government’s ban on all events with more than 250 people put into effect March 12.

“We are looking at event organizers — whether it’s community events, whether it’s large events — to look at alternatives they can use to keep that connectedness and social cohesiveness,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Read more: Ringette provincial championships cancelled for Salmon Arm

Read more: Province bans large gatherings in B.C.

Read more: BCHL suspends 2020 playoffs until further notice

The BCHL’s league playoff season has come to a halt following an announcement released March 12. Effective March 13, all games and hockey-related activity involving any Canadian Junior Hockey League clubs were cancelled until further notice.

In a statement released by the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, the team addressed the sudden end of the season.

“The cancellation of the 2020 BCHL season is obviously devastating news for our entire organization,” the statement read. “This was a season with so much promise and to see it come to an end so abruptly is a tough pill to swallow.”

In a Facebook post the Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association announced the end of their season as well.

“Although it is an abrupt, and somewhat disappointing end to the 2019/20 season, SAMHA is proud of how hard all of our players, coaches and parents worked this year, and wish everyone a safe and healthy off season,” the post read.

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League also followed suit, announcing the cancellation of the remainder of the 2019/20 postseason, as well as the 2020 Cyclone Taylor Cup in 100 Mile House. KIJHL teams that were still participating in the league playoffs will cease all on-ice operations and end their seasons.


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