Monday , 10 May 2021
Former St. Paul Lions back Owen Breast (8) runs the football into the end zone for a touchdown in 2018 against the Wainwright Commandos.

School sports on pause as ASAA waits for provincial go-ahead

Student-athletes in the Lakeland will have to wait to continue competing this upcoming school year.

The Alberta Schools Athletic Association announced on Thursday night that football, volleyball, golf, cross-country, and cheerleading seasons can’t begin until Sept. 1, and there will be no games or scrimmages with other schools allowed until further notice.

Only in-school athletic practices are allowed at the moment.

Provincial championships have been postponed in these sports until the Alberta Government moves in Phase 3 of relaunch and there is currently no timeline for that decision.

Once that happens, the ASAA said their executives will consider the implications of competitions between schools, and hosting a ASAA Provincial Championship, with a focus that places safety of all participants first and foremost.

“To be honest, I was shocked it took so long for them. I don’t know what magic they thought was gonna happen,” said Bonnyville Voyageurs high school football coach Larry Godziuk on the official announcement.

Practices can begin on Sept. 1 for these sports as long as athletes remain within one athletic cohort and practices are limited to 50 people.

That means football players, for example, wouldn’t be able to practice with their hockey team and vice-versa unless they self-isolate for 14 days.

This is detailed in the ASAA’s Safe Return to High School Athletics document released Thursday.

Godziuk said the Voyageurs, like all school teams, need permission from local school boards to practice.

“Everybody’s just kind of waiting. And like I said, I don’t think there’s much to be done because once school hits–I think we’re not going to see an explosion of cases here. But when you put 700,000 kids back in the school system and 16,000 teachers, chances are somebody’s going to get sick.”

He said there hasn’t been a deadline set on when a fall sports season would have to start by to move forward.

“I honestly don’t know what they’re going to do. A lot of it will be dictated by province, of course. But with Canadian Juniors shutting down their season, CIS shutting down their season and losing a championship season–they’re just not postponing, they are giving up a whole season. So I don’t know that we should feel that bad that we might be missing out,” said Godziuk.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.