With no provincial restrictions in place, different sports organizations around Alberta are now figuring out on their own if they’ll take any extra safety measures to deal with COVID-19.
It’s making for a patchwork of rules depending on where you live and what sport you play.
Hockey Canada says its position on vaccines is clear.
“It’s certainly our recommendation as Hockey Canada to be double vaccinated,” CEO Tom Renney said Friday.
“We understand the dilemma with the 12 year olds, but we certainly respect the fact that our jurisdictions, the member branches, are closer to it than anyone.”
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For some minor hockey programs in Alberta, there are added safety measures.
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Hockey Calgary noted players won’t be required to have a vaccine before hitting the ice this fall, but everyone in the organization will be required to wear face masks.
In Edmonton, that’s just a recommendation — for now.
“We have come out and strongly encouraged people, strongly recommended people to get vaccinated if they are not already,” Hockey Edmonton general manager Steve Hogle said.
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“Take those precautions at the rink — put on a mask, physically distance wherever practical.”
Hogle said the situation is fluid and these are ongoing conversations. Hockey Edmonton is working closely with Hockey Alberta, the city and the province.
“[Parents] are anxious to get back to the rinks with their kids and they want to do it in a safe manner,” Hogle said.
“The last thing we want is see a season cancelled or interrupted again by COVID.”
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Ringette Alberta told Global News in a statement it has safety guidelines in place to mitigate risk.
“As for mandatory vaccines, this is obviously a rapidly evolving discussion which we are watching constantly,” Ringette Alberta executive director David Myers said.
“A final decision on mandatory vaccines has not been made at this time.”
Over on the pitch, the indoor soccer season doesn’t start until November, but conversations around safety are happening now.
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The Edmonton Minor Soccer Association (EMSA) said it’s waiting for direction.
“We are waiting for the government’s directions or Alberta soccer and if that doesn’t happen and we believe we need something we’ll do it — don’t know what yet,” EMSA president Mario Charpentier said.
“It’s very hard for the staff and for us, because people are asking questions – they’re concerned, everybody is concerned, but we don’t have the answers.”
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