Thunder Bay

Ontario university sports cancelled until 2021

University sports will not be taking place in Ontario this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Decision based on provincial health guidelines

Lakehead University's Thunderwolves varsity teams won't be playing any sports this year. Ontario University Athletics has cancelled all varsity sports in the province until at least 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Lakehead University Thunderwolves hockey )

University sports will not be taking place in Ontario this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an announcement Monday, Ontario University Athletics (OUA) said all OUA-sanctioned sport programming and championships have been cancelled until at least Dec. 31, 2020.

In an interview with CBC News on Monday, Lakehead University athletic director Tom Warden said the announcement wasn't a surprise, as discussions had been taking place for some time.

"It means a different experience for our student athletes, and ultimately our students who are interested in watching varsity sports," Warden said. "And generally, I think as a society here we're getting a bit used to some changes. So, I think we're going to roll with it and make sure that we still provide an excellent experience for student athletes and our students."

Warden said recruiting of athletes will continue, and Lakehead will work on a plan detailing how varsity sports will be re-introduced.

When, exactly, that will happen remains unknown, however: OUA said a decision about allowing university sports after Jan. 1, 2021, will be made at a later date.

"Unprecedented times require unprecedented action, which is what led us to this difficult decision," OUA board chair Mike DeGagne said in a statement. "The health of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, and fans is our number one priority, and after significant consultation, we believe that OUA sport cannot be delivered prior to December 31."