COVID-19 is putting the clamps on six different high school sports in Nova Scotia.
The Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation (NSSAF) released an update this week on how they are moving forward with competitive sports.
Six sports — hockey, soccer, football, basketball, rugby and cheer — can only practise and cannot play games.
"The status for club provincial sport organizations is the same as it is for us," said NSSAF executive director Stephen Gallant.
Gallant says an update from Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, is expected to come sometime next month. It's possible restrictions could then be lifted to allow the six sports to resume competition. But with those restrictions still in place, the NSSAF has no other option.
"It makes it hard for everybody, but there's really nothing we can do," said Gallant.
Only three sports — baseball, golf and softball — are allowed to resume competition.
Several other sports, including volleyball, will have to be modified in order for games to be played.
Confusion over rules
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Halifax Mooseheads and Cape Breton Eagles were recently cleared to begin their training camps this weekend and they'll be playing exhibition games next week. That's leaving a sour taste in the mouths of some high school coaches.
"I don't understand that," said longtime Metro High School Hockey League co-ordinator Frank Hubley, who is also a coach with the Halifax West High School boys team. "Obviously there's confusion there, or mixed messaging from Public Health. How can they have their players on the ice in scrimmages and games and we can't?"
For some high school players, it could mean no hockey season for them at all. Most high school players would be able to go back to their minor hockey teams if there is no high school season this year. But for Jacques Forgeron, about to start his Grade 12 year at Eastern Shore District High School, he would be too old to play midget hockey.
"I'm in a very bad situation," said Forgeron, who has played two seasons of high school hockey with the ESDH Schooners and is hoping he might make a junior team. "It's extremely frustrating because I was really looking forward to my Grade 12 year of high school hockey and if it was to be kind of shut down, it would be really disappointing."
Hockey is also an expensive sport and, without a final decision on competition, schools are facing a tough decision on whether they should sign contracts to book ice time at their local rinks.
"It's usually just over $200 an hour and with our team we have a minimum of two sessions a week, so that's more than $400 minimum a week," said Kevin Wheatley, the athletic director at Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour and an assistant coach with the school's girls hockey team. "In a twenty-week season that's about $8,000."
The New Brunswick government announced this week that school sports will resume this fall but with enhanced protocols, including no spectators at any indoor events.
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