No Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament for first time since 1968

One of the Tournament Capital's gems has been cancelled amid the pandemic

The Tournament Capital has lost one of its crown jewels.

Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament board members met on Monday and decided to cancel the tournament, which has been held every year since 1969.

The 2021 edition, which was scheduled to run from Dec. 30 to Jan. 3, has been scuttled amid safety concerns and uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We still don’t know what games are going to look like, when games are potentially going to start and, overall, the main concern was still the health and safety of our players, bringing players in from other provinces and dealing with the 50-person gathering-size limit,” KIBIHT chairman Jan Antons told KTW.

“It would make it very difficulty to run a tournament at the level we’re used to. We want to make sure KIBIHT remains one of the top-notch tournaments in Canada.”

Registration opened in July. Only three teams had signed up as of Monday.

Board members discussed rescheduling the tournament for April or May.

“There were a lot of concerns with that,” Antons said. “We still don’t know how long regular seasons are going to go, with them starting late and some associations and governing bodies saying they are going to push their seasons long.”

Antons said the plan is to brainstorm ideas to ensure the tournament comes back strong in 2022.

“We really wanted to bring a boost to the economy, too,” Antons said. “But there is just too much unknown right now. It’s still a very hard decision.”

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