Castlegar Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) players have had to put a pause to their season until Dec. 7 following new provincial health restrictions around COVID-19.
The B.C. government announced last week that the CMHA and other teams in the West Kootenay Minor Hockey League (WKMHL) can not travel outside of their communities to play games.
CMHA president Daneve Mackie said her players were already following strict health protocols on the ice before the decision was made.
“When we started the season, we had to stick to playing within a cohort of four teams in the CMHA at a time. We had made up a schedule where players rotate through those four teams over a couple weekends and then we’d move onto another cohort,” said Mackie.
“Another big thing was that we weren’t allowed to play any tournaments. With this latest announcement, our travel is shut right down.”
Approximately 230 players in the CMHA can now only play hockey with each other until the health restrictions are lifted.
The start of the CMHA hockey season has been more challenging for everyone this year, according to Mackie.
“I can imagine that the start of this season has been frustrating for the parents and their kids,” said Mackie.
“Of the three weekends that the CMHA has had games so far, all of them have had last minute changes that have required changes to their schedules.”
CMHA management is weighing all of their options if the health protocols get extended beyond Dec. 8.
“One possibility is that we continue playing hockey games within the CMHA. Most of our divisions have two teams and they can play against each other,” said Mackie.
“The talk of the season has also primarily been around skill development growth for our players and we could continue doing that by just keeping them on the ice.”
The CMHA has players between the ages of three and 18 in various divisions and its season typically runs between October and March.