North Okanagan spring sports are starting to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
North Okanagan Minor Lacrosse, Vernon Baseball Association and Vernon Soccer have put activities temporarily on hold.
Lacrosse has canceled all pre-season activities after reviewing the direction of the Canadian Lacrosse Association, B.C. Lacrosse Association, provincial and national sporting associations and the rest of the Thompson Okanagan Minor Box Lacrosse Commission, of which North Okanagan is a member.
“All pre-season games, practices, evaluations or any other association-sponsored activities are canceled immediately, up to and including April 5, 2020,” said North Okanagan president Casey Sherriff.
“We will continue to be vigilant and make decisions as more information is available, providing updates as we know more.”
Vernon Baseball Association, which oversees minor baseball, is suspending its activities.
Baseball BC suspended all baseball activities for 7 days on Monday, March 16, given the heightened concerns over the potential spread of COVID-19. Baseball BC will be re-evaluating next week and issue further direction at that time. BC Minor Baseball and Baseball Canada have released similar advisories.
“The health and safety of all the VBA participants and families is of the utmost importance and is central to any decisions VBA is making in this regard,” said Vernon president Michael Sanfilippo on the association website. “The response to this pandemic is changing daily. We will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by our governing bodies, the public health authorities, and government.
“We are still several weeks away from opening day and hope that the swift actions being taken now across the country, will allow us to get back to normalcy much quicker.”
Sanfilippo said an update to families will be provided next week or as soon as any significant decision is made.
VBA will provide an update to our families next week, or as soon as any significant decision is made.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through this unprecedented event.
All B.C. Soccer sanctioned soccer activity has been canceled at this time throughout the province.
Vernon Soccer says on its website that it is “diligently monitoring the situation,” and following the direction of BC Soccer and Canadian Soccer.
“The executive is in discussions regarding the possibility of season start-up date and subsequent parameters of the season,” wrote the association, adding further updates will be posted on its website.
The decision affects Youth, Men’s Open and Women’s Masters, Div. 1 and Div. 2 as well as referee or coach clinics, which are suspended until further notice. Nothing outdoors is up and running in Vernon yet. Indoor soccer, which was in its last week, is also shut down.
North Okanagan Youth Soccer is hosting a board meeting Tuesday, March 17, to discuss options if it needs to delay the start of youth soccer, which is currently slated for April 27.
COVID-19 has wiped out the Interior Bowling Championships, which were slated for this coming weekend at Vernon’s Lincoln Lanes.
The four-time defending Okanagan Rugby Union champion Vernon Jackals and the rest of the four-team loop are in a holding pattern.
The B.C. Rugby Union and Rugby Canada have put a province and nationwide hold on all things rugby until April 10.
“Our season doesn’t officially kick off until April 25 so the hope is that when they reassess things, things have calmed down provincially or the Okanagan has had some good luck and won’t be affected in any long term kind of way,” said Jackals’ spokesperson Bryan Cragg. “So for now we sit and wait for word to resume.”