Nova Scotia

High school hockey seasons would be put on ice during N.S. teachers' job action

High school sports will be on hiatus next week unless the Nova Scotia Teachers Union can reach a deal with the provincial government. Teachers plan to start work-to-rule job action Monday.

One hockey tournament trip has already been cancelled with the future of a second event in doubt

The Halifax West Warriors won't be attending a hockey tournament in Fredericton scheduled for next weekend. (Vanessa Cooper)

Plans by Nova Scotia teachers to start work-to-rule job action Monday could cost sports teams a few big wins, but also big bucks earmarked for facility rentals and tournaments.

High school sports will be on hiatus next week unless a deal is struck between the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and the provincial government. The union's 9,300 members are poised to start work-to-rule job action Monday if there's no agreement, meaning teachers won't do anything beyond the classroom duties required under their contract.

I had to tell the tournament committee that due to work-to-rule that we wouldn't be going,- Frank Hubley, Halifax West Warriors' coach

The Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation said this week that as long as work-to-rule is in place, the organization's insurance is null and void. 

That means the whistle will be blown on school sports, including practices, games and tournaments. 

Tournament trip called off

The Halifax West Warriors pre-emptively pulled the plug on a hockey tournament in Fredericton scheduled for next weekend.

"I had to tell the tournament committee that due to work-to-rule that we wouldn't be going," said Frank Hubley, the team's coach. "I had to call a parent meeting and inform them of all that."

Hubley said he's asked for a refund of the tournament entry fee, but due to the team's late withdrawal from the event, he's unsure if it will be fully reimbursed.​

Hubley said the labour impasse would have a devastating impact on the Metro High School Hockey League, which he co-ordinates.

Job action could come with hefty price tag 

For teams with big budgets, the effects of work-to-rule could be significant.

The Dartmouth High School Spartans, for example, have allotted $17,000 for ice time at the Gerald B. Gray Memorial Arena, including practices twice a week and Friday night home games.

The Dartmouth High School Spartans earmarked $17,000 for ice time at the Gerald B. Gray Memorial Arena. (Submitted)

If necessary, the team will ask the rink's ice co-ordinator to try and resell the time to another customer.

"If she can't resell it, then we have to pay for the ice even if it's not being used," said coach Peter Gallant. "For our Friday night games it's almost $400."

Event in doubt

If work-to-rule plays out for a long time, it would be a big blow to the Spartans, who are set to host a 12-team tournament in early January drawing players from New Brunswick.

"We're going to have to make a decision pretty soon on that because there are a lot of financial concerns," said Gallant.

"We need to book officials. Teams that are coming have booked hotel rooms and buses so they need to know early enough in case they have to cancel."

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