Local sports clubs and organizations in the Peace Region received welcome news on Monday when viaSport B.C. announced it was finally moving into Phase 3 of its Return To Sport guideline. Under Phase 3, clubs will be able to participate in league play and competition with sports cohorts, modified games and matches, and additional training opportunities.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control reviewed the Phase 3 guidelines and gave guidance on how the next phase can adress high performance training, competition, and playing in cohorts, similar to what is being installed in the public school system.
"Sport is an important part of mental and physical health for children, youth, families and our communities," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer. "These guidelines will enable the social and emotional benefits of sport, while ensuring the sports activities remain as safe as possible."
Previously, under Phase 2, sports clubs were not allowed to participate in official league competition or travel for sports, though practices were allowed. Though some fall and winter sports groups are still awatiing an official Return to Play plan from their governing bodies (for example, the Fort St. John Minor Hockey Association and B.C. Hockey), this move to Phase 3 will allow those organizations to make competitions and enhanced practices and training a part of those new plans. Clubs that have already submitted their return to play plan to the City of Fort St. John or respective municipality may need to revise those plans to include the newly passed regulations.
"Team play and friendly competition are at the heart of amateur sport," said Charlene Krepiakevich, chief executive officer, viaSport. "Now, as we enter Phase 3, we will start to see more sport activities in communities around the province. While these guidelines offer key parameters for the increase in sport activity, each sport will advance at a different pace depending on community capacity and readiness. I want to thank all of the staff, organizers and volunteers who continue to ensure amateur sport in B.C. is safe and fun for everyone. As we move forward, the health and safety of all participants are our number 1 priority."
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.