How about that late bit of news we got on Tuesday afternoon?
It was like one of those Friday night news dumps we in the wonderful world of journalism love oh-so-much but it was an e-mail that caught my attention before I flew out the door (no, I didn’t fly … that would be fake news). Cindi Vaselenak, superintendent of Yellowknife Education District No. 1, sent me some follow-up correspondence from earlier in the day telling me that the board would be allowing user groups with an exemption from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer to begin using Yk1’s school gymnasiums beginning Nov. 8.
The exception to that rule is N.J. Macpherson, which won’t open its doors until Nov. 15, following the positive Covid-19 case registered earlier this week. Vaselenak confirmed that date with me on Thursday.
In talking with some other people around the city, it appears that’s the case for all three school boards and that’s reason enough to rejoice. Everyone was preparing for Dec. 1 and by that time, it would have been a case of forget it altogether.
It means the Yk Basketball Association can have something resembling a season. It means the Yk Volleyball Association can hit the courts and play some kind of league games. It means the NWT Futsal League has an idea of when it can begin playing this season, averting the plan to postpone things indefinitely.
Here I was preparing to tell you all that it was outdoors or bust, meaning the Yellowknife Ski Club and Bristol Pit would be the places to be this year. Not that they wouldn’t be in a normal scenario — cross-country skiing, biathlon and snowboarding are wonderful activities that go along nicely with hockey, basketball and volleyball — but like those summer sports that have benefitted greatly from the pandemic (looking at you tennis, golf and softball), those venues would have been rather full simply because it would have been among the few things people could actually do.
There’s some good news on the horizon as it appears the Yk Rec Hockey League will be rolling out its new season as of Saturday evening. The Yk Oldtimers Hockey League approved its vaccine policy on Wednesday after receiving its exemption to play and will get going this coming Tuesday, Nov. 2. That’s a sigh of relief, for sure, as there was plenty of hoping and waiting and wishing and wondering and we all know what happens when you wish in one hand and … exactly.
The only worry now is what will happen to school sports. No word on what’s going on, at least officially, but I’ve heard from more than one source that there will be nothing moving ahead until at least after Christmas. Again, it’s a glimmer of hope but here’s a really good chance for this vaccine passport to come into play. Anyone over the age of 11 will be able to get one — my 12-year-old daughter has hers — so that should take care of any questions about who’s double-vaxxed and who isn’t.
And let’s not forget that we have the Canada Summer Games happening in Ontario’s Niagara region in August 2022. Teams need places to practice before then, even though it’s still many months away. The outdoor event athletes and coaches don’t need to worry about gyms and such but sending volleyball, basketball and wrestling teams with very little practice will ensure an absolute drubbing.
And so we wait, like we’ve been doing since March 2020, but at least there’s a bit of light at the end of the tunnel on this one. It means we may get a Wade Hamer Challenge Cup this year. It means we may have a Canadian North Rec Hockey Tournament this season. It means we can have some fun, and we need some fun.