White Rock Whalers forward Saul Khalifa bears down on Aldergrove Kodiaks’ netminder Mark Paton during Saturday’s game, which White Rock won 6-3. (Jody Harris photo)

White Rock Whalers forward Saul Khalifa bears down on Aldergrove Kodiaks’ netminder Mark Paton during Saturday’s game, which White Rock won 6-3. (Jody Harris photo)

South Surrey, White Rock sports groups play waiting game after health-order halts sports

Indoor sports and recreation activities suspended for two weeks, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced

New public-health orders from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry have halted all indoor sports and recreation activities for the next two weeks, while also throwing a wrench into the plans of even outdoor-based sports organizations, some of which remain unsure on how to move forward.

The edict – which came Saturday in a rare weekend press conference amid increasingly high COVID-19 case numbers – shut down both minor and junior hockey, as well as other indoor sports where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as boxing, martial arts, volleyball and basketball.

Spin classes, yoga, group fitness, dance classes and other similar group activities are also suspended.

And though much of its activity is outdoors – although they do have an indoor training facility at South Surrey Athletic Park – Coastal FC shut down all of its programming, both indoor and outdoor, Sunday.

Coastal executive director Chris Murphy said the Sunday shutdown was more about timing than anything else.

Henry’s announcement Saturday came in the middle of a busy day of games for Coastal FC clubs, and between parsing the news from the province, co-ordinating with other area clubs and trying to inform parents and players of the news, shutting down for a day was the easiest, most responsible option, he told Peace Arch News Monday.

“It was a tricky thing for us, with the timing,” he said. “It set off a series of conversations and questions… We just decided to put a pin in it for a day.”

Murphy said that while training sessions – similar to their socially-distanced programs they staged earlier in the summer when COVID-19 protocols were more strict – have been re-instituted this week, and that Coastal executive members were waiting to hear more from league and health officials regarding the next steps.

The White Rock-South Surrey Titans football association also cancelled its games Sunday, but have proceeded with practices this week.

The junior ‘B’ White Rock Whalers played a Pacific Junior Hockey League game Saturday night – a 6-3 win over the Aldergrove Kodiaks – but a Sunday game originally planned against the Ridge Meadows Flames was cancelled.

The PJHL announced just a few hours later that the games would be suspended for two weeks in accordance with the new provincial order.

However, teams are allowed to practise in the interim, a post on the Whalers’ website noted.

Whalers captain Tyler Price compared the practice-only setup to a second training camp.

“We’ve got to keep competing out there (so) we’re ready for the games,” he said.

Semiahmoo Minor Hockey has also cancelled game play – as have all other associations in the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association – but are carrying forward with distanced training sessions.

On Sunday, Semiahmoo tweeted a video from its official Twitter account showing six-year-old players working on skill development, with on-ice coaches wearing masks and players spread out on the ice.

“Hockey activities will dial back from Phase 3 (game play) to Phase 2 (skill practices) for the next two weeks,” the association announced in a Twitter post.

“With everyone’s cooperation hockey can help restrict the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

Like the Whalers, the Surrey Eagles managed to get one more game in under the wire – they defeated the Langley Rivermen 6-0 in an exhibition tilt Saturday – but the BC Hockey League announced Sunday that all preseason games between the Eagles, Rivermen, Chilliwack Chiefs and Coquitlam Express were cancelled for two weeks.



sports@peacearchnews.com

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