It's almost time for volleyball season to begin, and the Northern BC Volleyball Club hopes to get things going at the end of November as it normally would. However, the club is currently without a place to play, as the school gymnasiums they would normally use have restrictions in place.
The club has put in a request to School District 60 to use its gymnasiums this year, and to the City of Fort St. John to see if there are alternate options. They are expecting to hear back from both within the next four weeks.
"Things are at a standstill right now while we wait to hear back from the school district and the city, but we really hope we are able to find a home this year," said NBCVC President Jen Heinrichs.
The NBC club, and club volleyball in general, is in an interesting spot in B.C. this fall.
While the fall is typically reserved for the school volleyball season, and clubs don't start until that season is finished, the school season has been drastically impacted by COVID-19, with some schools not having a team at all.
NPSS has continued its junior and senior volleyball teams, despite not being able to play in games or even scrimmages, and strict protocols limiting which players can play in cohorts together and use the same equipment.
In Dawson Creek, DCSS has decided not to have a volleyball season this year.
However, volleyball clubs are allowed to have scrimmages and even games — B.C. School Sports remains at phase 2 of its return to sport plan, while viaSport, which oversees club volleyball and other sports in the province, is at phase 3.
Clubs like the Dawson Creek Volleyball Club decided to take advantage of this difference in the protocols to hold a fall league, in which teams within the city can play against each other. Several girls from Fort St. John are participating as well, allowing them to keep their skills active and have some semblance of a normal season.
The NBC Volleyball Club declined to go that same route, since NPSS was still holding a modified season, but is looking forward to giving athletes around town, especially those who missed out on the full school volleyball experience, a chance to play some games and compete.
As the club is part of Volleyball Alberta, it remains to be seen if there will be tournaments or official competitions, and if the NBC club will be able to participate in them.
Heinrichs said the club executive still needs to talk to its coaches and decide if everyone is still on board with having a season, once they hear back about gym availability.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.