COVID-19 disrupts great seasons

Hockey provincials cancelled and Coastal Cup soccer playdowns are postponed for at least a month

Memorable seasons came to screeching halt for local youth sports teams amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The South Delta Bantam A1 Storm should have wrapped up their campaign in 100 Mile House last week at BC Hockey’s Bantam Two Championships. Instead the team of 13-and-14-year-old boys were heartbroken when Hockey Canada cancelled all sanctioned events and the remainder of the season.

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It was similar fate for the Greater Vancouver Canadians who were considered title contenders in the inaugural season of BC Hockey’s Major Bantam League.

The 2019-20 minor hockey campaign was at least days away from being completed. Many of those players now await to see what happens with BC Hockey’s zone programs and eventually tryouts for next season.

The stoppage is much more complicated for youth soccer, at least at the rep level with Coastal “A” and “B” Cup play slated to begin in April for Metro and Division One level teams.

The tournaments have now been pushed back to May.

Those playdowns determine berths for this summer’s Provincial Cup Championships which are typically held in early July.

South Delta 2003 United girls team is considered among the favourites in the U17 “B” Division after going 17-1-1 in regular season play and capturing the District Cup.

At youth soccer’s top level, the BC Premier Soccer League (HPL) was just two weeks into its regular season when play was halted. The circuit was to wrap up in late June with the Provincial Premier Cup Championships that determines spots at nationals for some divisions.

The BCPSL at least has some flexibility with the Canadian Championships taking place in October.

A big part of South Delta United’s grassroots development is its popular spring program. The weekly sessions attract an estimated 300 players annually.

SDU GM and technical director Mark Rogers has already written off the entire month of April for any activity. The hope is the spring program can still be salvaged with a later finish at the end of June.

“We usually start in mid-April and the best case scenario we are looking at now is sometime in May,” he said.

Some older SDU teams also compete in the Cascadia Spring League that is also in jeopardy.

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