October 14, 2020
EDMONTON – Canada West announced Thursday that no conference regular season, playoff, or championship events will be staged during the 2020-21 season in men's and women's basketball, volleyball, hockey, and wrestling, along with women's rugby 7s.
Decisions on CW championships in curling, track & field, and swimming have been deferred to a later date.
A vote of the conference's 17 members formally made the cancellations and deferrals, following recommendations from the CW Board of Directors based on information provided by the CW COVID-19 Task Force.
The Task Force was comprised of CW athletic directors, along with medical professionals.
All CW fall team competition had previously been cancelled on June 8, while the conference's golf championship was cancelled due to travel restrictions on September 22.
Following an announcement on October 2 to delay a decision on second term competition, Canada West's Board and COVID-19 Task Force continued to evaluate the evolving COVID-19 environment. Ultimately the Board recommended to members that second term competition in basketball, volleyball, hockey, wrestling, and rugby 7s not be staged due to a host of factors, including:
Ensuring the health and safety of student-athletes and others
Rising case numbers across portions of Western Canada, particularly in the age group of university students
Continued inter-provincial travel restrictions imposed by provincial health authorities
Financial impediments to ensuring safe competition, including higher travel costs (airfare, bus travel, and hotel), due to COVID-19 mitigation protocols
"This isn't the outcome any of us wanted, however, it has become increasingly clear over the last few weeks that the environment wasn't going to change sufficiently to ensure safe competition in these sports," said CW president Clint Hamilton.
"Ultimately our members saw no feasible path to staging Canada West events during the 2020-21 season in these sports. With today's decision our members have opted to provide clarity to our stakeholders, most importantly our student-athletes. Collectively we didn't take the decision to cancel fall competition lightly in June, and today's announcement is equally disappointing to everyone involved in university sport."
The announcement came on the same day that conference colleagues at Ontario University Athletics (OUA), and Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) announced their own cancellations and suspensions respectively.
U SPORTS, the governing body for national championships, announced their Board's decision to cancel all remaining 2020-21 national championships [hyperlink to U SPORTS release added] on the same day. The decision came after consultation with championship hosts, and was supported by all four conferences, including Canada West.
Despite the Canada West season being cancelled in the afforementioned sports, conference members continue to explore competitive opportunities for their student-athletes, based on the principle of regional cohort play.
The conference supports member's desire to provide student-athletes with safe competition opportunities, in accordance with institutional and provincial health guidelines. These competitions will be explored on a member-by-member basis through the remainder of the 2020-21 season.