Little more than a month ago, members of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference – and the fans and parents who care about this under-valued level of college sport — were seriously focused on next week – specifically a Monday morning meeting in Medicine Hat.
For many years, interest and intensity have grown at this time of year. The month of May marks the formal start of preparation for the coming season, primarily soccer and golf and cross-country. A lot of details are needed to have everything ready when the first flag flies.
This year is bound to be different. Possible change, everywhere, is set for debate during the five-day annual general meeting.
Mark Kosak, the ACAC’s chief executive officer, made clear his belief that the major issues, time and money, must be faced head-on. Several outlines will be considered in a virtual meeting – “lots of protocols and requirements in place.” All participants have some insight to his combination of caution and aggression.
“So many complexities, so many variables,” Kosak said. “We’re doing our best to be prepared for anything.” He specified the pressure of dealing with COVID-19, of course, but also dealt with an ongoing issue in minor and amateur sports at all levels: “Everybody has financial troubles” that existed long before the pandemic arrived.
Front and centre is the need for the Augustana Vikings to complete the elimination of men’s soccer (the women’s program will survive) and to continue the community- and alumni-led bid to keep men’s hockey alive despite intense financial pressures. An interesting conundrum presented by Kosak: the backlash faced by Keyano College officials when they eliminated their Huskies hockey team a few years back and resulted in an about-face. “We have a proposal from Keyano to enter both men’s and women’s hockey; now, Keyano has agreed to wait until next year for a decision.”
“Honestly, there’s no real chance to tell what’s going to happen,” Jason Richey, head of the NAIT Ooks athlete program, said in a brief recent discussion. “As far as I can tell, the only way to avoid cutting some of our early sports is if, somehow, the distancing regulations are changed in time, but it’s too early to count on that, I think.”
Three options – all tied to the paced of reopening the economy — will be discussed in Medicine Hat. One Saskatchewan team, the Briercrest Clippers, may face regulations different from the bulk of ACAC members.
* Start on schedule, Sept. 15 or thereabouts, with first-term sports such as soccer, cross-country and golf;
* Prepare for a potential Oct. 1 start, requiring less play in those three sports but maintaining full activity in the others.
* Eliminate the early events if necessary and prepare to begin remaining sports after Christmas. keeping them at the busiest possible level: futsal indoors rather than the outdoor game; maybe one full golf tournament in the fall; possibly a series of indoor track meets.
Kosak and others have been somewhat successful, in building fan interest in the ACAC, whose sports have been attended for years by mostly small crowds. Some growth in regional and national interest has shown in college-level championships, although crowds still remain far below the level of attendance for Canada’s national university playoffs.
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Police arrest two more people following killing of eight-year-old girl in Alberta
An Edmonton Police Service logo is shown at a press conference in Edmonton, Oct. 2, 2017. Police in Edmonton have charged two more people following the killing of an eight-year-old girl whose remains were found on a First Nation south of the provincial capital in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Police in Edmonton have charged two more people following the killing of an eight-year-old girl whose remains were found on a First Nation south of the provincial capital.
Officers responded on April 24 to a welfare call about the girl at an Edmonton home but were unable to locate her.
Her remains were discovered five days later on the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis.
Shayden Lightning, who is 21, and Raighne Stoney, who is 36, have been charged with being an accessory to murder and causing an indignity to a body.
Three others were initially charged in the case.
Police are not releasing the names of two of the accused in order to protect the identities of other children related to the victim, whose identity is under a publication ban.
A 27-year-old woman faces a charge of first-degree murder and a 25-year-old man faces charges of being an accessory to murder and causing an indignity to a body.
Edward Nievera, 67, was charged with being an accessory to murder and causing an indignity to a body.
Edmonton police Staff Sgt. Colin Leathem said in a release Friday that the recent arrests will be the last in the case and that the investigation has concluded.
“We want to thank the RCMP in Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin for their assistance with this investigation,” he said. “Needless to say, this was an exceptionally distressing investigation to work on, and they went above and beyond in helping to facilitate these final arrests and bring this file to conclusion.
“While nothing can change the horror of what occurred, we hope (the arrests) can provide some measure of justice to those who knew and loved this little girl.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2023.
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