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Provincial amendments to group sports allow junior hockey teams to hold full practices

(Files by Brendan Pawliw-MyPGNow)

Junior hockey teams like the Prince George Cougars and Spruce Kings are allowed to practice together once again following some amendments by the province.

The B.C. government made some minor changes to the restrictions on group sports.

According to ViaSport, “group sport” now consists of sport for those 22 years of age and up.

Previously, any players aged 19 and older were not allowed to participate in practices with younger teammates who had been allowed to continue training.

Here is the full list of amendments outlined by viaSport:

  • “Adult team sport” revised to “group sport”: Group sport is defined as sporting activities involving more than one person and includes training and practice for an individual or a team sport, but does not include sport for children or youth, varsity sport or high-performance athlete sport. Group sport (i.e. sport for those 22 years of age or older) is only permitted in groups of up to two people (e.g. singles tennis or an athlete and a coach training session). Outdoor group sport is only permitted in groups of up to four people (e.g. four individuals may run together or four individuals could run soccer drills). All participants must maintain a distance of three meters from one another while participating in the sports activity. While this order provides clarity, it is important to remember the intent is to limit group gathering. For example, individuals should not be playing a sport with four people and then switching teams to another group of four during the same time slot.
  • Travel to home club: Individuals are permitted to travel to their home club for the purpose of sport. The home club is defined as the sports organization, club, or facility at which a person is registered for ongoing sports programming. Individuals should not carpool with other participants.
  • High performance exemption: High-performance athletes are individuals who have been identified to a targeted athlete list with the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific by their respective Provincial Sport Organization or National Sport Organization. A person, who is a high-performance athlete who is already training in B.C. may train, compete, and travel for that purpose if they follow the COVID safety protocols of their respective provincial or national sport organization.
  • Sport for children and youth means an activity that is delivered by a provincial sport organization or a local sport organization and may include participants who are under 22 years of age but does not include varsity sports. The PHO Order for Events and Gatherings differentiates between adult and youth sports activities.
  • Intercollegiate varsity sport exemption: Varsity sport is defined in the order as a sport for which the eligibility requirements for participation are established by a national association for the regulation of intercollegiate athletics, or which is designated as a varsity sports program by a post-secondary institution. Individuals of any age may participate in varsity sport if they are a member of a varsity sport team and they only train or practice with the post-secondary institution with which they are enrolled. Varsity sport, at this time, needs to follow viaSport’s Return to Sport Guidelines (i.e. maintain three metres physical distance and travel is limited the athlete’s respective post-secondary institution).


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