Sergiy Slipchenko | Staff Writer
Featured Image: Prior to its cancellation, the Lions’ women’s hockey team was named the fifth seeds for the upcoming 2020 U SPORTS Cavendish Farms Women’s Hockey Championship. | Courtesy of Jeremy Zheng, York Lions
The world of sports is perhaps the industry that was impacted the most by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Many countries are adopting measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and one of the first measures was to prevent large gatherings.
Stadiums across Canada and the United States can usually fit from 10,000 to over 200,000 people. As such, sporting events were one of the first and most obvious gatherings to be cancelled. The NFL, NHL, MLB and all other leagues have been postponed until further notice.
Not only were major leagues impacted, the pandemic has even affected varsity sports. U SPORTS, the organization in charge of all sports at the university level throughout Canada. The women’s hockey nationals were scheduled to be carried out between March 13-15 but were cancelled as Canada implemented countermeasures to COVID-19.
“As a proud partner of Hockey Canada, we understand how difficult a decision this was to make,” said Lisette Johnson-Stapley, U SPORTS Chief Sport Officer. “We understand the disappointment felt by our student-athletes, coaches, officials and wonderful hosts however the decision was made with the best interest of all participants in mind.”
This will be the first time the David Johnston University Cup is cancelled in the 57 years since its introduction. The York Lions were looking forward to facing off against other provinces but never got the opportunity.
Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to the Lions, the March 6 game against the U of T Varsity Blues was their last game of the season.
The game rookie Ava Ricker-Singh was optimistic for the upcoming 2020-2021 season. “It is going to be a lot of pressure, of course, following up this year, it was amazing. It is going to be hard losing a lot of good leaders like Erin Locke. The pressure is gonna be there, but the fun is gonna be there as well.”
Team captain Locke is finishing her undergrad and will be leaving the Lions after playing for them for five years.
“It’s definitely been a roller coaster, the first few years were a challenge, but the last three years we have pushed through and believed we can become national and OUA champions,” says Locke.
As the coronavirus precautionary measures tighten and the situation escalates, it seems like many events will not be coming back for several weeks, if not months.