Hockey Canada has decided to cancel three upcoming tournaments, including the 2020 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup scheduled for Dec. 6-12 in Bridgewater.
"Hockey Canada's priority remains the health and safety of all participants and the general public," Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney and COO Scott Smith said in a joint statement Thursday.
"We believe the decision to cancel these three events is the safest decision given the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic at the local level, as well as the international implications associated with these events."
The decision to shelve the international tournament at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre comes at a time when the town of Bridgewater is already dealing with the economic strain brought on by COVID-19.
"To be frank, we are disappointed but I think it's very understandable," said Andrew Tanner, the town's deputy mayor. "We realize the environment we are in currently, but it's not the news we wanted to hear."
Tournament to be held next year
The tournament will be pushed back one year and will take place in Bridgewater in 2021.
This would have been the third Hockey Canada event Bridgewater has hosted in the last four years. The 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge — the forerunner of Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup — and the 2018 Esso Cup, Canada's female midget championship, are the others.
"It's had a huge economic impact when we've held this event previously," said Tanner.
The event was estimated to bring in $1 million four years ago. "It filled hotels and packed the town with a lot of new faces, which is always good."
The cancellation of the December tournament sends a strong message that other sporting and entertainment events scheduled for the early part of 2021 may also be cancelled and it could be a long time before they return.
"By December we are going to be back into respiratory virus season and it's very likely there is going to be a much higher number of cases," said Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist with the Nova Scotia Health Authority. "So cancelling things at that point is a pretty safe bet."
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