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Organized sports shelved/delayed due to COVID

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Hinton Minor Baseball is among the handful of sports and recrational organizations that have either cancelled the 2020 season, or have acknowledged that the season may ultimately be cancelled down the road.

Tyler Waugh

With the sun out and the temperature rising, this is the time in Hinton when thoughts usually turn to a new sports season.

But 2020 will likely best become known as the year where the coaches’ whistles fell silent on the diamonds, gridirons, pitches and pools across Hinton.

Minor sports associations have over the past week or so been announcing that their spring and summer seasons will not move forward due to COVID.

The Hinton Wolfpak six-man football team is usually gearing up to begin its spring camp and jamboree season – one that has seen significant growth in the past few years and one that helps develop players for the fall regular season squad. But Football Alberta has shut down all activity until further notice.

“Yes, it is disappointing considering the momentum we had built up from the past season and opportunities lost to our four graduating players as far as being (unable) to compete in the all-star game,” said longtime head coach Chris Johnstone.

“No insurance will be covered by Football Alberta so our spring camp scheduled for May 4 is on hold. I haven’t talked to John Holuk, our new president, about a game plan as we don’t know how long these social isolation orders will be in place.”

The Hinton Water Devils have also cancelled its 2020 season, which usually begins in May and runs through until provincials in August.

Jenny Sigsworth, president of the Hinton Water Devils, said the decision to cancel the season was made by its sanctioning body, the Alberta Summer Swim Association.

“It wasn’t’ up to us. It’s tough but it was expected,” she said, adding that the Water Devils had a head coach and assistants in place and ready for the season, and also a strong board of directors and enthusiastic fundraisers.

“It’s disappointing, we had things in place for a really great year, hopefully we can keep it in place for next year.”

Hinton Minor Soccer, which has the largest annual registration numbers for the spring/summer season, announced in an April 22 post that it is cancelling the 2020 season.

“Hinton Minor Soccer is very disappointed to report that the 2020 outdoor soccer season has been cancelled due to COVID-19 and social distancing protocols in place,” said soccer executive Suzanne McDonald in a post on the Hinton Soccer Moms and Dads page on Facebook.

The Hinton Mountain Bike Association has also announced that the spring session of its popular Sprockids youth program is cancelled with the hopes to resume in the fall of 2020.

One sports organization that is still holding out some hope for a season is Hinton Minor Baseball. Its sanctioning body, Baseball Alberta, has suspended all activity until June 1, with further direction expected closer to that date.

Jocelyn Puchailo of Hinton Minor Baseball said the other factor will be whether there is any change to the Town of Hinton’s closures that includes the ball diamonds.

“Since we are already being postponed to June 1, which is already more than half into our season, we will discuss if there’s the option to go into the summer (July and possibly August),” Puchailo told The Voice via Facebook on April 22.

“At this time we are prepared that we may not have a 2020 season, which is devastating for the association and the children of Hinton.”