Chilliwack’s youth sports organizations finally got good news this week, with the provincial government easing restrictions on physical distancing and the playing of games.
Chilliwack FC’s Ford Spring Soccer program has been in a holding pattern for the last month and a half, with players limited to practice sessions only. Late Tuesday afternoon, CFC chairperson Andrea Laycock sent an email update to membership saying games will be starting on Monday, May 31.
That will allow for three weeks of games, with the season ending June 17.
“What an exciting day for all youth sports,” Laycock wrote. “Who knew the words ‘game on’ would bring such joy to youth sports stakeholders?”
As players return to the pitch, COVID protocols are still in place — contact tracing, mask wearing, etc. — and there are still no spectators allowed in to watch them play.
“We will continue to update you should things change with the reopen plan, but we are very optimistic that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter each day and by September it will be business as usual,” Laycock wrote.
But while restrictions are pulled back for Chilliwack FC, Chilliwack Minor Football, Chilliwack Minor Lacrosse and other youth sports, there’s no relief for high school athletics.
“Education K-12 Health and Safety Guidelines governing school activities were not included in these changes, and as a result, school sport is not included in the changes announced and remains in Stage 2, which limits activities to learning groups, and prohibits interschool competition,” wrote Jordan Abney, executive director of B.C. School Sports in a memorandum to school administrators and athletic directors. “We share your extreme frustration to once again be in this situation where the sport sector is participating in outdoor activities as normal, and school sport remains stagnated and on hold, unable to even practice normally.”
At G.W. Graham, athletic director Jake Mouritzen said the plug has already been pulled on the football program’s spring camp, and the plan is now to run a fall camp in August, two weeks before the start of the 2021-22 school year.
“Everything is basically finished this year,” said Chilliwack secondary school athletic director Joe Mauro. “B.C. School Sports has emailed all of us that if things go the way its going we will begin with a fresh start in September.”
“Because nothing has changed for schools, we have nothing running except our COVID-safe boy’s basketball practices,” said Sardis secondary athletic director Brad Geary.