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Sports Halifax sports leagues put on game face to deal with new COVID-19 restrictions

23:25  28 november  2020
23:25  28 november  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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Members of Nova Scotia leagues who live in Halifax will miss the social connection of sports over the next couple of weeks, but organizers say the pause is vital to preserving the rest of their seasons.

New regulations are clamping down on travel in and out of Halifax Regional Municipality until at least Dec. 9 to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The heads of three different leagues told CBC's Mainstreet on Friday how they will handle the break.

Amy Walsh, Hockey Nova Scotia executive director, said Friday that those affected live in Halifax and some parts of Hants County, regardless of whether they actually coach or play for a team outside that zone.

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Walsh said the break means many kids will miss out on seeing their friends for a couple weeks, which will be the toughest part.

"At the end of the day, hockey is about developing individuals and building communities," Walsh said.

"But I think we need to put that aside for now and really focus on the health and well-being of our province and keeping everyone safe ... there's an overall understanding about that, that the pause is worth it for the long run."

Some other hockey leagues, like the Nova Scotia U15 Major and Scotia Minor Hockey League, have voluntarily shut down all games across the province.

On another type of ice, five curling rinks in the Halifax area also shut down for two weeks Wednesday.

Virginia Jackson, Nova Scotia Curling Association executive director, said the move affects about 2,500 people.

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Everyone wants to get back into playing as soon as possible while staying safe, Jackson said, since there are a couple upcoming provincial competitions everyone hopes can still take place.

Curlers have already adjusted to playing under public health restrictions like wearing masks on the ice if they prefer, staying physically distanced and more sanitation.

"It's going to be for the betterment of the clubs and the curlers all around going forward," Jackson said.

"I don't think you'll see any changes. I think a lot of things that we're doing now, you'll see going on into the future."

Teams urged not to skirt rules

Although basketball hasn't started yet, the shutdown puts a damper on tryouts and getting teams up and running, said Katherine Brien, executive director of Basketball Nova Scotia.

She said their organization is happy the break is happening now, since no games need to be rescheduled.

Brien said basketball could start up as expected in January with minimal impact if things get back to normal in the next few weeks.

She said BNS is still figuring out competition structure and how it will hold provincial tournaments. Those are about four months away and a lot can happen in that time.

The most important thing right now is to work together to fight the virus, Brien said. That way there might be regular-season play early in 2021.

She added that anyone trying to break the rules by squeezing in practices or looking for loopholes within the restrictions isn't helping.

"It's only two weeks," Brien said. "The sport of basketball ... isn't more important than everybody's health and safety."

All school sports games, in all regions of the province, are paused until early December.

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