CANMORE – The Canmore Eagles organization is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak where at least 14 players and staff tested positive for the virus.
Operations at the Junior A hockey club will be shut down until Dec. 3, but after the province's pandemic announcement this week, it's likely the league that's been experiencing rising cases won't return until at least Dec. 18.
"Some players [on the Eagles] are pretty ill and that's the scary part," said Andrew Milne, head coach and general manager. "We're still waiting for some results. So we're probably looking at least 14 or 15 positive cases from our staff all the way through our players.
"Myself, having gone through it and been extremely ill and I'm dealing with it internally with my family. I've got three little kids that are now susceptible to it, so there's a whole bunch of spin off from this."
Milne added that the positive cases don't include billet families, staff families, or extensions of that. However, the Outlook confirmed only one related case outside of the Eagles players and staff at this time.
"The web this spins is phenomenal, it's massive," Milne said.
On Nov. 14, an Eagles player showed symptoms on the bus ride home after an away game against the Drumheller Dragons. The player was tested and results returned last Thursday (Nov. 19) as positive.
There were several other players at that time showing symptoms as well.
After a positive test from an AJHL player or club member in close contact, the team must isolate for 14 days and get tested. Any games scheduled during the two-week period the team is isolating are cancelled and there likely won't be makeup games.
The league will likely move towards a winning percentage overall to determine standings for an already shortened 32-game 2020-21 season.
As a result of the Alberta government's Tuesday (Nov. 24) announcement declaring a state public health emergency, the AJHL's board of governors had a meeting to discuss its next steps for games on Wednesday (Nov. 25) after the Outlook's deadline. An update will be provided on www.rmotoday.com.
Milne stated that the health and safety is of utmost importance to the club.
"Our organization won't be moving forward without the safety of our community, first and foremost," said Milne. "The two weeks in isolation are a drop in the bucket compared to what the ramifications and the bigger picture are."