Many Kitimat sports teams, such as the Snow Valley Skating Club, are implementing COVID-19 safety measures for coaches and team members, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, and wearing masks. For the Skating Club, coaches need to stay six feet away from participants as much as possible and must wear a mask at all times while in the arena. (Clare Rayment/Kitimat Northern Sentinel)

Many Kitimat sports teams, such as the Snow Valley Skating Club, are implementing COVID-19 safety measures for coaches and team members, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, and wearing masks. For the Skating Club, coaches need to stay six feet away from participants as much as possible and must wear a mask at all times while in the arena. (Clare Rayment/Kitimat Northern Sentinel)

Sports in the time of COVID-19

Various sports teams around Kitimat have had their seasons affected by the pandemic

As the Fall and Winter sports seasons get into full swing, many clubs and teams around Kitimat have had to adjust their training and play to follow COVID-19 restrictions and protocols.

Kitimat Marlin Swim Club

The Marlins are getting in their usual number of practices, but said they are affected by lane space restrictions. They are only allowed seven people per double lane for distancing, whereas before they would have five to seven swimmers per single lane.

They are not running dry land training until more restrictions are lifted or more information becomes available, as there is already a huge impact on the way swimmers come and go from the pool.

Curling

All curlers and teams need to register and pay for the season in advance for this year’s season. There will also be no Junior curling this year, except for competition teams. COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place, with lots of hand hygiene and disinfecting of equipment as needed.

Kitimat Minor Hockey Association

Kitimat Minor Hockey’s safety plan includes observing the 50-person cap on all activities, with safety volunteers screening everyone coming into the rink. Players have mainly dressed at home and arrived in full gear so that they are ready to proceed onto the ice as quickly as possible and don’t need to use the change rooms.

They aren’t playing games, nor are tournaments being held but officials say they are optimistic that the rules will be close to what has been enjoyed in the past.

“So far, the season has gotten off to a smooth start,” Mike Forward, communications officer with the Kitimat Minor Hockey Association, said in an email. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the work of our dedicated volunteer base, from our executive, to our divisional mangers, coaches, and safety people. The families have all bought in and are working hard to ensure we are compliant with all the new rules we have to follow.”

Snow Valley Skating Club

Only two parents total are allowed in the rink per session to help out with screening, monitoring, and playing the music. Any adult that enters the rink is required to wear a mask at all times.

Once the ‘Canskate’ sessions start, they will be allowing one parent or guardian in the rink with each skater, and all parents will be screened and will need to sit in the stands at least six feet apart at all times. They can also have a maximum of 20 participants in the Canskate program, and the ‘PreCanskate’ program for brand new skaters will not be running, as it is unable to do so with physical distancing.

Canskate coaches and program assistants wear a mask and gloves at all times during the program. Many areas of the arena have one-way traffic and appropriate distancing, and enhanced cleaning is done between groups.

Skaters have to bring their own “baskets” with hand sanitizer, clean gloves, filled water bottles, tissues, etc. to each practice. They also need to come fully dressed (skates on) and leave the arena dressed to reduce any interaction and to allow time for cleaning between groups.

“Our club truly does feel very lucky to have so much support from the community and especially the District as we navigate our new normal,” Cynthia Medeiros, Director of Skating at the Snow Valley Skating Club, said in an email. “We are also thankful that all of our skaters and parents are supporting our new procedures and inconveniences here and there.”

Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club

The ski trails at Onion Lake will be open for skiing when the snow comes, as per usual, and all skiers will be asked to remain ‘two ski poles apart’ while using the trails. Lessons of some shape or description will be held for children. They will run differently from previous years, but the club is still working out exactly how to do them. Rentals will be available for children doing lessons and for any other children, as they rent by the season, but they are unsure how daily rentals for adults will work at this time. Skiers will need to wear a mask while they are in the lodge, but the club asks that skiers stay out of the lodge as much as possible.

“The good thing is, cross country skiing is probably the most COVID-safe sport you can do, in terms of physical distancing,” Liz Thorne, President of the Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club, said. “While we’re not sure yet how a few of the things are going to go, we have a way of making things work!”



clare.rayment@northernsentinel.com

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