By KELLEN TANIGUCHI on April 27, 2021.
The Medicine Hat College Rattlers are getting ready for a 2021-22 season after the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference was given approval on Friday to start drafting schedules and preparing for athletics to return to Alberta campuses this year.
Fewer games will be scheduled, playoff formats will be modified and travel will be reduced which means division alignments could be adjusted, says a release from the ACAC.
“We don’t know where it will go but at least we have a plan in place where we can see something is possibly there for the future and to me that’s a big thing to be optimistic about,” said Patrick Sharp, MHC’s athletic events supervisor. “A year ago we never thought we’d be in this situation and now maybe we’re starting to see some light in the distance and hopefully this virus can get under control and we can get back to a more day-to-day normal.”
Sharp says getting back on the court and field is important for the athletes at the college, and some athletes have continued to put in work despite the 2020-21 season being cancelled.
“We’ve had most of our athletes here the entire year. They’ve been training when they can, they’ve been in the fitness centre when they can, they just want to play,” said Sharp. “I think any way they can get back on the court or the field would be great for them emotionally and mentally as well.”
The ACAC’s release also says no spectators will be allowed at indoor games until further notice, but Sharp says all of the indoor games will be streamed online and they provide high quality, high-definition video.
“Maybe we’ll have some type of viewing party somewhere on campus where we can do it socially distanced, but we ‘ll try and come up with something so at least their families can be watching at home,” he said.
Sharp says physical activity is good for mental health and having a 2021-22 season in any capacity is good for the athletes. He says he has a “guarded optimism” for a season to take place and the ACAC’s release says the health and safety of people on campus and the population at large remains the most important thing.
“No post-secondary sport programming will commence without approval from Alberta Health and Saskatchewan Health authorities, and the ACAC is committed to strict adherence to all government and campus protocols, policies and practices that reduce the transmission of COVID-19.”