Sporting events throughout the world — international, national, provincial and even local — have come to a complete halt as the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to evolve on a daily basis.
Last week, following Hockey Canada and BC Hockey’s announcement they had ceased all operations, the Williams Lake Bantam Tier 2 Timberwolves received word they would no longer be able to host this year’s provincial championships.
Other local teams who were planning on travelling to compete in their respective provincial championships included the Williams Lake Peewee Tier 2 Timberwolves, the Williams Lake Midget Tier 2 Timberwolves and the Williams Lake Midget Female Timberwolves.
The plug was also pulled for hosts Quesnel on this year’s Coy Cup senior men’s AA championship, where the Quesnel Kangaroos were slated to welcome three visiting teams — the Dawson Creek Canucks, the Terrace River Kings and the Kelowna Sparta — for the provincial tournament from March 24-28.
Other local athletes affected include ski cross racer Austin Boehm, 18, who qualified as a member of Team Canada for the 2020 FIS Junior Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships in France this month and Taylor Fitzgerald, 15, who earned a spot at next week’s 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Swimming Trials in Toronto to swim among the best Canadians at the event.
Williams Lake Bullets Speed Skating Association skaters Leah Lauren, Ty Lauren, Henry Beaton and Kayden Ford-Jalbert, meanwhile, were disappointed to find out this past weekend’s BC Short Track Championships, scheduled to be held in Abbotsford were called off after they qualified to compete earlier this season.
Williams Lake Youth Soccer Association executive and staff said they will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation leading up to the start of its 2020 spring outdoor season after the BC Soccer Association announced Friday it was suspending all sanctioned soccer until further notice.
Sunday, March 15, marked the final day to register for the spring outdoor season prior to late registration fees kicking in, however, WLYSA said in the event the season is postponed further than the beginning of May, or they are required to cancel the season, they will issue refunds at that time.
Williams Lake Slo-Pitch League president Linda Barbondy, who manages the league of over 700 players, said they fall under the directive of Slo-Pitch National and are currently playing it by ear as to whether they will begin their season on time.
“Right now everything is going ahead as normal until it’s not,” Barbondy said. “Our season should start once all the snow is gone [at the Esler Sports Complex], around April 27.
“Right now, though, I think people’s health is more important than anything else.”
The Williams Lake Bighorns Lacrosse Association season is also in jeopardy, the organization announced Monday.
“The WLBLA has received word from Lacrosse BC/Canada to suspend all activities — including coaching and reffing clinics — until further notice,” the WLBLA said via Facebook. “We don’t have a definite date, but hopefully we will know more in the coming weeks.”
The WLBLA will provide updates on its Facebook page for players and parents as more information becomes available.
Back up at the Esler Sports Complex, Williams Lake Minor Fastball is taking a wait-and-see approach, and is still accepting registration for its upcoming season.
“As of right now we are still planning on playing this season as we don’t usually start until the first week of May,” WLMF said in a statement issued on its Facebook page.
“We are still accepting registrations and if there is a cancellation of the season all of those who have payed will be refunded.”
B.C. School Sports, the governing body of elementary and high school athletics, announced Tuesday it was officially suspending all school sporting activities in a memorandum to school athletic directors.
“In the interest of student-athlete safety, [BCSS] has suspended all school sport-related activities including training, practices, jamborees, scrimmages, matches and similar intra school sport activities,” reads the memo.
“Due to the speed at which things are changing we will evaluate the situation moving forward, and determine the ability to safely offer a spring season of play at a later date.”
There is some optimism as the BCSS board is hoping to retain some dates for June, though all future decisions await approval from the provincial health authorities.
Cariboo Bowling Lanes also announced Monday it would be cancelling all of its leagues, and halting operations, until further notice.