Thunder Bay

Ontario university sports cancelled until at least March 31 due to COVID-19

Lakehead University's Thunderwolves teams will be on the bench for several more months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lakehead University's Thunderwolves teams won't be competing for at least several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Lakehead University Thunderwolves hockey )

Lakehead University's Thunderwolves teams will be on the bench for several more months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario University Athletics (OUA) announced Thursday that it was cancelling all sanctioned sport programming and championships until at least March 31, 2021.

It's an extension of an earlier OUA decision that saw all sports put on hold until the end of December 2020, and falls in line with a decision by U Sports – which governs university sports nationally in Canada – to cancel its winter championships in basketball, hockey, swimming, track and field, volleyball and wrestling; Curling Canada has also announced it had suspended the 2021 university curling championship.

"I think we all realize that the decision is made in the best interests of the health and safety of our students, and of our community," said Lakehead University athletic director Tom Warden. "But you still have a reaction where you're disappointed."

"The consequences to our student athletes and our programs are significant."

Warden said there are organized training sessions available for Lakehead University's student athletes, but the athletes aren't required to attend if they don't feel safe.

The OUA said its board of directors will continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 in Ontario.

"While we would love nothing more than to see our student-athletes back on the field of play and participating in OUA-sanctioned competition during the second term, we are not yet at a place where that can occur safely," Gord Grace, OUA president and CEO, said in a statement. "As disappointing as that reality is, I am confident that our participants will continue to demonstrate their resolve and determination through these exceptional circumstances and as we work toward an eventual safe return to competition."

now