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SAD NEWS – But Not Unexpected

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SAD NEWS – But Not Unexpected

When it came, after a few days of warning, the message was sad enough to erase all doubt about the short-term future of university sports in Canada: “It is not currently feasible . . . for USports to be able to offer fall championships.”

Immediately affected by the Monday announcement from President Clint Hamilton were seven sports: women’s field hockey, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s soccer and of course, football which, thanks basically to the Vanier Cup-champion Calgary Dinos, stands as the highest-profile sport in Canada West universities these days.

Until this week, there was some hope that a five-game schedule – down from the accustomed eight-game slate — could be managed.

After the prompt and understandable responses of sadness and regret for coaches, athletes, trainers and fans tied to 56 programs in four jurisdictions (Quebec is not included at this point), the almost-automatic second response took the form of a question: with arrangements now in place to protect existing scholarships, how will high school seniors and ambitious young men in provincial junior leagues such as the Prairie Conference be affected?

Obviously, prospects who aimed at university careers had their plans put on hold for at least one year. Unless they’re absolute standouts, rookies at the post-secondary level will sand in longer lineups before playing junior in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg or Saskatoon.

John Paton, executive director of Alberta Sports Athletic Association which oversees high school competition in dozens of categories, said it is not known when classes will resume; negotiations are in almost-constant evolution. Negotiations on scheduling and other essentials will remain unsettled for weeks at least. Many meetings are taking place each week “and some more often than once a week.

“We aren’t moving as fast as the universities did,” he added, confirming that the university decision was “not unexpected.”

One major obstacle was (and is) inter-provincial travel. Saskatchewan has already said visits by out-of-province teams will not be approved ungil the problems of isolation and physical distancing can be handled safely.

As the post-coronavirus world starts to assume some new shape, the ASAA continues to welcome input from every provincial sports organization. Alberta Basketball, for example, has already recommended starting the 2021 season at the normal starting time in late August or early September. Some see it the best way to put the challenging COVID-19 days well into the past.

Decisions on the start of scheduled play and the length of seasons at the high school level are sure to be guided by federal regulation and Alberta Health Services expertise, said Paton said, cautious about any potential  “level of higher risk.”.

Prairie Football Conference spokesmen are equally unsettled in their outlook. Crossing the provincial lines that mark Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba is essential for all teams in that league. Some time ago, one observer suggested that the encouraging coronavirus picture in British Columbia might allow early-fall exhibition meetings between adjacent Alberta and B.C., but those conversations have apparently been put in hold.

Football Alberta spokespersons were not available for comment.

Gretzky Was Magic, Now He Sees It

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Alberta

Keep your eyes on the road – delayed ‘spring’ highway cleanup takes place this Saturday

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Volunteers cleaning up Alberta highways

September 16, 2020

The annual highway cleanup, which usually occurs in the spring but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 19.

Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sept. 19, volunteers wearing bright orange safety vests will be collecting trash along Alberta highways to raise funds for community organizations.

Motorists are advised to watch for the volunteers, slow down, obey signs and use caution when passing cleanup crews.

The organizations, which include 4-H clubs, Scouts, Girl Guides, schools, church organizations and other non-profit groups, earn $100 per kilometre cleaned.

Quick facts

  • Volunteers must be nine years old or older to participate.
  • They must take part in a safety training program and be under adult supervision.
  • Last year, the Alberta government contributed about $1.28 million to 740 volunteer organizations involved in the highway cleanup.
  • More than 18,000 volunteers collected more than 56,000 bags of garbage while cleaning up more than 13,700 kilometres of Alberta roads.
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Calgary

Summer is here to Stay at Calgary’s Only Indoor Beach Facility

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After a fairly stagnant summer, where the typical buzz of team athletics and busy sporting fields has been largely missed due to COVID-19, the return of the winter weather is being dreaded by most. 

Do not fear the cold, however, there is a way for Calgarians to beat the winter blues. The Beach YYC, Calgary’s only indoor beach recreation facility offers “a little bit of the summer, all year long”. Located in southeast Calgary at 3030-2600 Portland Street, The Beach YYC is a 23,000 square foot facility with almost 13,000 square feet of beach court space and more than 700 tons of sand.
“After the way the summer has been, where people haven’t been able to play the normal leagues and sports they usually do, people are looking for a social, fun, active thing to do.” Says Elliot Weinstein, Founder of The Beach YYC, “And here we are!” 

Originally inspired by an indoor beach facility located in Vancouver, BC, Elliot decided to introduce the concept to the city of Calgary. As the fifth facility of its kind in Canada and the only one available in Alberta, The Beach YYC draws both high and low level players from across the country for everything from major tournaments to evening rec leagues. In addition to offering rec, intermediate and competitive beach volleyball leagues in co-ed and gendered divisions, the facility has 5 courts that can be adjusted to accommodate beach volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Spikeball and dodgeball games.

“It’s a great place for people to maintain and improve their skills during the winter months,” says Elliot, “that way they can jump right back into their summer sports when the weather changes.”

In addition to hosting regularly scheduled leagues, The Beach YYC offers kids play dates and camps, catered events such as birthdays, corporate events and beach parties, as well as weekly drop-in rates – which have been on hold due to COVID-19 but will resume when deemed appropriate. 

Opened in September of 2018, The Beach YYC is now approaching its 2-year anniversary, and recently announced the opening of their beachside diner, George’s Beach Club! Named in honor of Elliot’s grandfather George, the club features a full comfort-food menu that includes delicious anomalies like the Bahn Mi Sub, the Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Poutine, and banana splits for dessert. 

Now in the final stages of securing a liquor license, George’s will soon be a full-service destination for players and friends to relax at before or after games with a pint and bite. 

Don’t wait on that tropical vacation to get your toes back in the sand … everything is better at The Beach! 

To learn more about The Beach YYC or to check out George’s Beach Club, now available on Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats, visit https://www.thebeachyyc.ca

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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