The Central Zone tournament set to be hosted in Eckville this weekend has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The senior girls Aces were awarded the honour when they clinched the Central Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association 1A West title over CACHS on March 2.
The tournament was set to host the top eight teams from across Central Alberta at Eckville Jr/Sr High School March 13-14.
Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association (ASAA) had been monitoring the changing situation regarding the outbreak and had already decided to cancel the wrestling provincials earlier this week.
Brian Holland, principal at Eckville Jr/Sr High School, said the ASAA made the decision to postpone the Zone competitions and provincial competition scheduled for next week in result to the announcement from the province yesterday.
“The fact remains that all three teams qualified to still be playing meaningful ball at this time in the year, nothing about this changes that,” said Holland of the senior boys and girls team who qualified for Zones and the junior A team who qualified for CWAJHAA.
“We look at the NHL and the NBA and the professional leagues, well those careers have an infinite length and there’s always another championship next year, but you only have three years in high school,” explained Holland, adding he feels for the student athletes who have dedicated their sweat, soul and commitment to these teams.
“Despite the success if they don’t get the opportunity to carry out these next events it’ll be a kind of bittersweet feeling for them,” he continued.
Holland says it is hard to speculate the duration of the postponement at this time and at which point a cancellation of the competitions becomes inevitable.
Whether or not teams will continue to practice is being left up to the individual school boards and the discussions are still ongoing, according to Holland, although, he says there will more than likely be a window for the teams to get themselves back up to speed before play.
“I think public institutions are going to take their lead from the experts in health care and infectious diseases and move forward based on their guidance and recommendations,” said Holland, “… you’re going to see a measured, calm reflection with each of these subsequent announcements and putting the public health and safety needs first and foremost followed closely by doing right by kids,” commented Holland.