On Thursday, Oct. 15 2020, Ontario University Athletics (OUA) announced that sports will not be taking place this winter. The cancellation of university sports that is currently in effect will be continued through the 2021 winter term.
As with the OUA fall term cancellation, all league play, championships, and events will not be taking place due to COVID-19.
“The health of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, and fans remains OUA’s number one priority,” Dr. Deborah MacLatchy, Chair of the OUA Board of Directors, said. “After significant consultation with our members and advisors, we have determined that OUA sports cannot be delivered prior to March 31.”
While the cancellation is difficult news for everyone affected, it’s clear that it would not be possible to safely resume regular play.
“While we would love nothing more than to see our student-athletes back on the field of play and participating in OUA-sanctioned competition during the 2nd Term, but we are not yet at a place where that can occur safely,” Gord Grace, OUA President and CEO, said.
The decision comes as a disappointment, but not a surprise, to UW’s athletic department.
“Even though this news was likely inevitable, it was still tough to hear and digest. Our players are definitely disappointed, but overall, are in good spirits,” Brian Bourque, UW Associate Director of Athletics and Warrior Men’s Hockey Coach, said.
Gord hopes all athletes will retain similar high spirits throughout the term.
“As disappointing as [this] reality is, I am confident that our participants will continue to demonstrate their resolve and determination through these exceptional circumstances as we work toward an eventual safe return to competition,” he said.
At UW, keeping spirits up is quite possible for athletes and athletic staff, who are continuing to train under enforced safety measures.
“Fortunately we are [still] able to train,” Bourque said. “Even though [the players] are missing their time in the dressing room, they are very appreciative that they can train together. Currently we are skating five times per week. A number of universities across the country are not allowing their athletes to train to this extent, so we are truly appreciative of our department.”
At this point, it’s unclear when it will be possible for sports to return. According to Bourque, exhibition games may be possible at a later date, but for now, varsity athletics will remain suspended indefinitely.