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Minor hockey rep games cancelled in Newmarket, York Region due to rising COVID-19 cases

York Simcoe Minor Hockey League says 'reset' needed for good return in the new year
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Local minor hockey rep games are pausing amidst uncertainty in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Newmarket Minor Hockey Association announced Dec. 14 that the York Simcoe Minor Hockey League is cancelling all regular season rep games until Jan. 3. Teams can still practise and take part in off-ice functions, but games for many of them will be on hold.

“This is probably coming as no surprise given the number of associations already requesting action to be taken and/or who are taking action themselves,” YSMHL president Eric Kopsala said in a message to associations. “Timing is critical, hence our decision to pause programming now.”

The cancellations will extend until Dec. 23, when the league’s regular holiday break comes into play. Newmarket Minor Hockey said tournaments can still take place after Christmas.

The province is facing a surge in COVID-19 cases, in part due to the omicron variant. New public health measures are expected to come forward, with some regional health units putting new restrictions in place. 

Although rep and select teams will have cancelled games, the Newmarket Minor Hockey Association said games will continue for house league teams in all divisions. 

The association urged participants to follow COVID-19 protocols, including wearing face masks everywhere except on the ice and bench, and to avoid attending if experiencing symptoms, and informing the team if uncomfortable about attending.

“We will continue to update you as we receive more information,” the local executive said.

Kopsala said the pause is an important step so that all players in isolation can finish it by Christmas and start their seasons in January in much better shape.

“This has been a very difficult decision which we recognize takes away one of the very few activities our players have that seem normal,” he said. “It is our belief that this 10-day pause will affect “a reset” effectively allowing hockey to resume with the maximum number of players and teams in the new year.”