GW Graham grad Deanna Tuchscherer went to Hungary to play pro basketball with the cancellation of the 2020-21 Canada West season looming. (UFV Cascades photo)

UFV athletes hit hard as Canada West conference pulls plug on season

While Cascades teams might play ‘regional cohort’ games, conference play/playoffs is a no-go

The University of the Fraser Valley varsity sports teams will be left on the sidelines in 2020-21 thanks to COVID-19.

The Canada West conference and U-Sports made official Thursday what many have been bracing for, cancelling conference play, playoffs and national championships for men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, hockey, wrestling, and women’s rugby sevens.

Decisions on the staging of 2020-21 CW championships in curling, track and field, and swimming — none of which exist at UFV — have been deferred to a later date.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, and those around them, has been paramount in this decision-making process,” said UFV director of athletics and campus recreation Steve Tuckwood. “Ultimately, this is another dose of difficult news for student-athletes amidst a trying year, and we empathize with them.

“Moving forward, we will look to build in-province exhibition schedules for our teams, following viaSport cohort guidelines and COVID-19 mitigation protocols.”

READ MORE: Chilliwack basketball star Deanna Tuchscherer ready for Hungarian adventure

READ MORE: No Canada West championship tournament for UFV golfers

UFV and other schools have been given the green light to explore competitive opportunities for their student-athletes, based on the principle of regional cohort play.

As an example, the UFV golf team is playing a series of events with UBC and UBC-Okanagan.

“This isn’t the outcome any of us wanted, however, it has become increasingly clear over the last few weeks that the environment wasn’t going to change sufficiently to ensure safe competition in traditional conference formats in these sports,” said Canada West president Clint Hamilton. “Ultimately our members saw no feasible path to staging traditional Canada West conference events during the 2020-21 season in these sports.

“With today’s decision our members have opted to provide clarity to our stakeholders, most importantly our student-athletes. Collectively we didn’t take the decision to cancel fall competition lightly in June, and today’s announcement is equally disappointing to everyone involved in university sport. Our members will now shift their focus to finding new ways of delivering non-conference sport competition for our student-athletes.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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