A Test of Our Patience and Resilience: An update on the 2021 Canadian Ringette Championships

It’s been a year like no other. And all signs point to more weeks and months of continued disruption, uncertainty and anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Just about every aspect of our lives has changed, including access to the sport that we all miss so much.

There’s been a tremendous amount of work done since my last update in July. Your Provincial Ringette Organization has been working extremely hard to develop #ReturntoRingette plans based on guidelines from local and provincial health authorities as well as the principles laid out in Ringette Canada’s National Direction for Return to Ringette.

Cautiously and carefully, Provincial Ringette Organizations are implementing those plans in an effort to bring back ringette as quickly – and as safely – as possible. The health and well-being of all participants – players, coaches, officials and spectators – remains our number one preoccupation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced sport organizations across Canada and around the world to make some very difficult decisions. Thousands upon thousands of events at every level have been postponed or cancelled due to concerns about exposure to the virus. Sadly, ringette is no different.


Following on our decision to cancel the 2020 Canadian Ringette Championships (CRC) last March, the risks and uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic have forced the cancellation of the 2021 CRC as well.


The decision by Ringette Canada’s Board of Directors comes after extensive consultation with all Provincial Ringette Organizations. As difficult as it is to cancel for the second year in a row, there really is no other option.

Current public health guidelines would not allow it, and we have no way of knowing what the guidelines will be in April, when we would normally host our event to crown champions at the U16 and U19 levels as well as the top team in the National Ringette League.

Our decision was further informed through the use of a sophisticated risk assessment tool developed by Own the Podium, the organization that supports high performance sport in Canada. Based on guidance from the World Health Organization, the tool provides a rigorous assessment of mass participation sporting events. Even though we are still seven months away, the Return-to-Competition Assessment Tool (RCAT) confirmed that the risks associated with staging the 2021 CRC were simply too numerous and too serious to justify going ahead.

While this decision has been a difficult one, we know that it’s the responsible thing to do as the world continues to grapple with this unprecedented health crisis.

I know this is awfully difficult news to accept. For many in our community, the CRC delivers some of the very best memories and brings us together like no other event. If you’re feeling sad, frustrated or angry about missing out, that’s totally understandable. It’s yet another sacrifice we’re being asked to make.

But let’s not lose sight of the fact that losing access to sanctioned ringette activities does not mean that it’s okay to organize unsanctioned practices or competitions.

Unsanctioned events are not covered by our or your provincial insurance policy, and anyone participating may have to wait at least 14 days (aligns with isolation period) before joining a sanctioned on-ice or off-ice session. In some provinces, you may not be allowed to register at all if you’ve been part of an unsanctioned ringette practice or game.

This pandemic is a test of everyone’s patience and resilience. We may have been knocked off stride, but we’ll get back on our feet and keep moving forward. Ringette people are special people. And I know we’re going to come through this unsettling time with an even deeper appreciation for the sport that ties us together.

I ask you to please continue to be patient, to support those in your community and province who are working so hard to reintroduce our sport safely and responsibly, and, most of all, to remain hopeful about the #ReturntoRingette.

Please direct any questions or comments to crc@ringette.ca.

 

Sincerely,

 

Natasha Johnston

Executive Director

Ringette Canada

Provincial Associations