For most minor sports associations in Cornwall and area, it’s game on.
And the cheering has already begun.
“Let’s get back on the ice!” was the enthusiastic message delivered recently by the Cornwall Girls Minor Hockey Association executive, and many other organizations had a similarly enthusiastic outlook.
A sampling of youth sports in the region indicates most associations are planning on having a winter session, but for many it will involve more practising than actual games, and for some the start-up won’t occur until late this month. But at least there are possibilities, as of Tuesday morning when the area moved into the Orange level in the province’s reopening framework and the lifting of the stay-at-home order.
In Long Sault, the South Stormont Selects Minor Hockey Association executive earlier this week in a 2021 winter session update for players, parents and volunteers indicated careful consideration was given on the weekend on how to proceed. When various factors were looked at – including the movement in the number of cases within eastern Ontario and especially South Stormont and Cornwall, variants of the virus, additional safety measures to be considered, and the responsibilities of parents – it was decided a winter session would begin on Feb. 28.
“This allows us to co-ordinate our volunteers, pods, schedules, equipment, jerseys as well as providing an additional two weeks to assess the health unit updates,” said SSMHA president Robert Walker. “We’ll be meeting this week and next to finalize the details of the winter session, including the number of ice times, number of weeks, refund calculations, scheduling, coaches, trainers, firmer self-assessment screening protocols (and other items). . . we’re very hopeful to provide a meaningful winter session, however, we also recognize that our plans may have to change depending on the future.”
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Last Friday’s provincial confirmation that made Orange the favourite colour of most young athletes sparked a flurry of website and social media updates, very upbeat in nature, including the Cornwall Minor Hockey Association’s announcement it had great news, that Phase 2 of the 2020-21 season was going to get underway this week, that association volunteers were working hard to finalize the “bubbles” and complete an ice schedule.
The Cornwall Typhoons Girls Hockey Association on its website said “the moment you have been waiting for is here!”
The plans have Typhoons players back on the ice starting Thursday; by now, all registered players should have received an email from their coach or manager.
The association said the days and times for sessions will revert to what was in place before the Christmas break, and, that some of the safety rules that will be followed include just one parent in the change room per child under the age of 11, one spectator per child under the age of 18, COVID-19 checks to be completed before every ice time, masks to be warn until players are on the ice, and masks to be worn by non-players at all times.
Over at the Benson Centre fieldhouse, the Cornwall Minor Football Association Wildcats will be back in uniform very soon, with president Kirby Camplin announcing winter programing will start on Saturday.
“All camps will have strict rules for number of participants and COVID-19 protocols,” Camplin said, explaining he expects all camps will be full, and that players and families wishing to participate should not delay the registration process. On Facebook on Family Day, the organization struck an optimistic tone when looking ahead to camps and, eventually, warm weather for spring outdoor play.
Read the post: “HAPPY FAMILY DAY to all our Wildcats Family! We miss you all so much and look forward to better 2021! A new year with new opportunities!”
Indoor camps starting soon include winter skills, linebackers and NCAFA mini-camps.
And, the Cornwall Gymnastics Club is excited about tumbling into late winter. “Woohoo!! See everyone soon! Stay tuned for more details!!” was how club organizers reacted to last Friday’s announcement.
But, for some sports and minor associations, the new status for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region doesn’t change too much.
Late in the fall the Cornwall Vikings Volleyball Club announced that, for several reasons, including COVID-19 restrictions, lack of available facilities, and general uncertainty about the immediate future of indoor sports, it was suspending its programs, and turning a hopeful eye to potential indoor training in the spring, and summer activities outdoors.