Athletes at the University of the Fraser Valley will be back in action this fall, though things may still look different thanks to COVID-19.
The Canada West conference held a virtual annual general meeting May 4-5, with UFV and other conference members approving ‘alternative sport formats’ for 2021-22. What that will likely mean is more regional play.
“The Schedule Format Committee has worked tirelessly for the past number of months to propose various formats, fitting any number of criteria, to get us to a place where today, we feel as though we have a plan that will allow our student-athletes, coaches and all of our stakeholders to see the return of Canada West play,” said Canada West president Curtis Atkinson.
Any change in format is expected to be a one season deal, followed by a return to what existed before the pandemic. Alternative formats were adopted for field hockey, football, soccer, hockey, basketball and volleyball. The formats for championship sports and rugby 15s remain as currently scheduled.
The alternate formats may require further adjustments depending on what happens with COVID case counts and provincial health orders. In order to launch a 2021-22 Canada West season, members will still need to receive permission to return to competition from their institutions, and receive clearance from health authorities in their respective provinces.
But Atkinson said it was vitally important to have a plan to get things re-started.
“In addition to the health and safety concerns that we all have been facing this past year, our members also face a significant amount of financial uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Today is a positive step forward in returning to Canada West competition in a feasible, safe, and fiscally responsible way.”
Steve Tuckwood, UFV director of athletics and campus recreation, was pleased with the new schedule formats.
“I applaud my colleagues for recognizing that regional competition was the best option for this coming season, and I’m excited about the revised playoff formats,” he said.
Full Canada West schedules will be released at a later date.