Covid numbers threaten annual novice hockey tournament

Covid numbers threaten annual novice hockey tournament

By Michael Boriero

The Novice-O-Rama Hockey Tournament is only weeks away, but with the number of COVID-19 cases skyrocketing daily in Quebec, the annual event could be postponed, or cancelled outright, like last year.

Stéphane Dion, general manager of Hockey Sherbrooke, told The Record that the organization’s council met on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming tournament, which is slated to begin on Jan. 6. They decided it is best to wait for more government directives.

“We’re also conscious and we’re going to follow closely the evolution of the Covid situation just until the event […] if there are other measures from the government and public health that ask us to cancel the event, then we will respect the rules from public health,” said Dion.

There are 93 teams signed up for the tournament, and according to Dion, the organizers, volunteers, and groups in charge of disinfecting are more than willing to run the tournament with Quebec’s current health and safety measures. However, it depends on the number of cases.

“As long as there aren’t many teams affected, or infected I should say, by Covid, then we’ll be in a place to present the tournament,” said Dion, adding things could change quickly over the holidays, as cases could increase, pushing teams into quarantine and delaying games.

The plan is to reconvene the organization’s council members on Jan. 3, and reevaluate the COVID-19 situation in the province, and within Hockey Sherbrooke. The organization has noted a sizeable increase in Covid cases, which has led to teams being put into quarantine.

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