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School sports given OK to return to Bow Valley

"I’m really thrilled football is back and I'm really thrilled to be back out here because it's been too long."

CANMORE ­– Students can kick balls again.

In the Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) re-entry plan, it states under current provincial health measures outdoor sports practices and teams such as football, cross country running, soccer and golf are OK to return. Volleyball practices may be planned for outdoors.

"The Alberta Education 2021-22 School Year Plan is based upon Stage 3 of Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan and provides flexibility at the local level," stated Chris MacPhee, CRPS' superintendent in Tuesday's (Aug. 24) re-entry plan.

Public health guidelines and recommendations must continue to be followed by everyone involved and coaches will be masked at all times.

The re-entry plan for the division, which includes Banff, Canmore and Exshaw schools, will be reviewed after Alberta's checkup of current health measures on Sept. 27.

High school football was the first sport to return to the field on Aug. 18 following a season off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I’m really thrilled football is back and I'm really thrilled to be back out here because it's been too long," said Spencer Rose, the Canmore Wolverines head coach.

"We've got a good group. They’re eager to work and they love being out here."

Due to last season, about half of the Tier 4 team is Grade 9s and 10s, who are mostly new to the game.

"It’s Wolverine football, so we’re never the biggest team around," said Rose. "A big thing for me is the intelligence, the athleticism and I really want to bring these guys to bring an intensity and a nastiness. Just because you’re not biggest guys out there doesn’t mean you can’t lay the wood.”

The Wolverines have a tentative six-game regular season pencilled in.

In July, the Alberta Schools Athletic Association noted its “planning for a full return to provincials in fall 2021. The first priority is on the safe re-entry into competition and game play."

A preliminary draft of the Tier 4 football playoffs are on Nov. 14, Nov. 21 and conclude Nov. 28.

The Wolverines are waiting on the word from the school division about inter-school competition. If allowed, the Wolverines kick off the season on the road Sept. 17 against the Olds Spartans. A week later on Sept. 24, the team would play at home after a two-year absence against the Drumheller Titans at Millennium Field in Canmore.

“There’s still nothing official yet,” said Darren Anderson, CCHS' athletic director. “Football has been practicing –­ they did get an OK as it’s outside and based on the provincial guidelines, they were OK with that. I guess we’ll see what happens in the next few days and we’ll plan from there.”

If restrictions are lifted, Anderson said on the athletics side, things would be ready to roll, but competition, and travel measures would still need to be answered.

“There’s going to be lots of details to figure out if we’re back and competing and it's going to be a different environment than it was in 2019, so we’ll just have to see what it brings," Anderson said. “I think it would be great to have kids back playing sports, but it needs to be done within the guidelines that are laid out and safe, so we’ll see what that looks like."

During the first week of school, sign up sheets for other fall sports will be made available for students.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

Jordan Small joined the Outlook in 2014 and covers the vast world of sports in the Bow Valley. A Barrie, Ont. native, he also wrote for RMO's Mountain Guide section and the MD of Bighorn beat.
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