TRU WolfPack teams receive lifeline as Canada West delays return-to-play decision

Atkinson updates WolfPack layoffs situation

Canada West has delayed a decision on whether second-term conference competition will proceed in the new year until no later than Nov. 2.

The initial decision deadline was Oct. 8.

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Canada West’s board of directors voted earlier this week to delay, allowing for more time to assess the feasibility of returning to play amid the pandemic.

“This decision buys us a little more time to fully consider health implications, what it’s looking like across the four provincial health authorities in Canada West … and wait a little bit longer on making sure we do our due diligence to land on the right decision,” TRU WolfPack athletics and recreation director Curtis Atkinson said.

The date of Nov. 2 was chosen to strike some sort of balance, with student-athletes and athletics programs seeking timely direction and the conference’s COVID-19 task force needing more time to provide it.

Five layoff notices were issued in July to staff (no coaches) in the WolfPack athletics and recreation department.

“Right now, the layoffs and temporary leaves are still occurring,” Atkinson said.

“Those are moving forward with our department right now. Obviously, if there is a Canada West season and we’re playing toward a conference championship, we’ll have to ramp back up and be able to deliver the product, which includes meeting league requirements that we need staff to do.”

Second-term Canada West team sports include basketball (men's and women's), hockey (men's and women's), volleyball (men's and women's), rugby 7s (women’s), along with conference championships in curling (men's and women’s), swimming (men's and women's), track and field (men's and women's) and wrestling (men's and women's).

The WolfPack has varsity basketball, volleyball, soccer and swimming teams for men and women.

 Fall team competition was cancelled in June. Canada West championships in cross-country running and golf have been cancelled.

Atkinson said he is not leaning either way when asked for his gut feel on whether Canada West play will resume in January.

"We hope there is an opportunity here still, but I'm certainly not suggesting, with this decision, that it's more positive or more negative," Atkinson said.

"We felt like we needed more time to put together a robust report that will allow us to make the right decision."

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