To our Withrow Park Ball Hockey community,
This weekend was scheduled to open the 2020 season – which in our neighbourhood is the unofficial beginning of spring. Even for residents not directly involved in the league, the steady march of kids in jerseys to and from the rinks, the sounds of the sticks and balls on the pad, and the crowds of supporters in the parks are a sure sign that the outdoor season has arrived.
Unfortunately, since our last communication to you, it has become clear that the spring ball hockey season cannot proceed. With the COVID-19 outbreak continuing to grow, the City of Toronto has understandably decided to cancel all permits until at least June 30th.
The Board has therefore made the decision to refund all fees to youth-division, Young Women’s and Young Men’s divisions. It will be automatically refunded to your payment cards in coming days. All players who had registered will be considered ‘returning players’ for 2021 registration.
The Women’s and Men’s divisions still have the possibility of playing a meaningful season, potentially including extra games between July and October, so for the time being we will continue to make contingency plans to play. Anyone in those divisions who is experiencing financial hardship and requires a refund of their fees can contact us individually at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are awaiting word on the OBHF Provincials scheduled for July and the CBHA Nationals scheduled for July/August. The OBHF has indicated that they are still hopeful of holding Provincial tournaments, potentially on adjusted timelines.
We appreciate how disappointing this will be for everyone who looks forward to the ball hockey season. The Board will continue to monitor the situation and, if conditions allow, organize alternative games for youth players in the summer. This could take the form of set teams playing a short season or tournament, more loosely-organized shinny-type games, or some combination. If registration is required, it will happen separately for those who are able to participate. Getting out on the rink together, if it can be done safely, would be a powerful sign that some normalcy has returned to our lives.
This is a difficult time financially for many in our community. If you are fortunate enough to not have been severely affected by the business restrictions and closures under social distancing, we would encourage you to consider donating the funds to efforts supporting our front-line health care workers, or using them to purchase food and other critical supplies from businesses who sponsor teams in our league and are still able to operate.
As a final word, please take two minutes to watch this short video from Kristine Laing, a long-time parent and coach in our league who is also a front-line health care worker. It’s a powerful message about how we can support each other during these times, and what health-care professionals are sacrificing to protect us.
Stay safe and healthy, until we next meet at the rink.
On behalf of the Withrow Park Ball Hockey League Board of Directors