New Brunswick athletes are going to have to wait another year to go to the Canada Games, and some athletes who would've had the chance might not be able to go at all.
On Wednesday the Canada Games Council announced it would be postponing the Niagara 2021 Summer Games to 2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We weren't surprised," said Nicole Smith, chef de mission for Team New Brunswick. "Now we know, so we can plan accordingly and move forward."
Smith told CBC afternoon show Shift that she had discussed the future of the event back in August with her counterparts from across the country.
The Canada Games are usually held every two years, alternating between summer and winter sports. More than 5,000 young Canadian athletes compete in the event.
Smith said Team New Brunswick would usually send as many as 400 athletes, plus coaches and other staff members. She said it's important for the athletes to compete at a high level, and experience a multi-sport games.
"It's what they've been working for for the past couple years," said Smith. "It's a stepping stone for those athletes that want to continue on and go to that next level of their sport."
No date has been set yet for the 2022 games. There hasn't been a decision on whether the age range for the 2022 games will be changed to allow for athletes who are now in their final year of eligibility to compete next year.
The age range differs from sport to sport.
"We don't have that answer yet so once we know that we'll have a better idea on what the impact is on the athletes," said Smith.
Smith said the postponement of the games will actually be a positive for some sports. She said some athletes weren't able to train and prepare because of the pandemic, and this will give them more time to do so.
At the last Canada Summer Games in 2017, Team New Brunswick had a record showing. The team collectively earned 24 medals, which was the most for the province in Canada games history.