B.C. Lions 'can't confirm or deny what's going to happen' with CFL training camp in Kamloops

CFL: “Our season and training camps don’t kick off until mid to late May. Time will tell. Things keep on changing. We’re planning on having the season start on time, but things can change.”

B.C. Lions’ training camp is slated to run in Kamloops for the 11th consecutive season, from May 13 to June 3 at Hillside Stadium.

The COVID-19 pandemic has potential to change that, but there are no plans, for now, to cancel camp.

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“Everybody is working toward a goal of keeping on track and keeping this going,” said Terri Breker, senior director of marketing and communications for the Lions.

“They are very unprecedented times. We’re looking at this week and next week and trying to work with some deadlines.

“I can’t confirm or deny what’s going to happen.”

Jeff Putnam, parks and civic facilities manager for the City of Kamloops, said it would be entirely the Lions’ decision to pull out, not withstanding a moratorium on use of facilities.

On Monday, Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian announced the temporary closure of all city arenas and pools.

The Lions use the Tournament Capital Centre, including the Canada Games Aquatic Centre, when they hold camp in the River City.

“With so much uncertainty at the moment, it’s not productive to indulge in speculation in the media about what may or may not happen,” said Lucas Barrett, director of communications and public affairs for the CFL.

“Our season and training camps don’t kick off until mid to late May. Time will tell. Things keep on changing. We’re planning on having the season start on time, but things can change.”

The Lions cancelled their Orange Helmet Awards, slated for Friday, and announced free agent camps in the U.S., school visits and other community outreach programs have been cancelled.

“There are communities being formed right now through our presidents and board of governors,” Barrett said. “You look at how other leagues are approaching this, with the NBA, NHL and MLS in season, so it’s a bit different.

“I wouldn’t say there is a drop-dead date, but we’re going to be relying on what medical officers are saying in regards to making sure players, fans and personnel are all safe.”

Barrett said the CFL is monitoring the situation through the World Health Organization, team doctors and Mike Wilkinson, chief medical officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

“They don’t teach you this in school,” Barrett said. “It’s an interesting time, to say the least, for the entire world.”

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