With the school year underway and COVID-19 regulations loosening in Nova Scotia, many students are asking if or where they can play sports. Some organizations in Halifax are offering students that opportunity this year.
Dalhousie University’s intramurals program will attempt to have programming for students this year despite classes being online. While intramurals have typically been open to people other than Dalhousie students, including Dalplex members, that won’t be the case this fall according to Dalhousie’s campus recreation coordinator Chris Keough.
“It will be 100 per cent students and that’s the university’s wish,” Keough said.
COVID-19 protocols will be the same as at the Dalplex and will include screening.
The earliest in-person intramurals could return at Dal would be in mid-October, although no decisions have been made yet on exactly which sports will be played. With the Nova Scotia government’s announcement that gathering limits for sports will increase to 50 players starting Oct. 1, any sport that’s been played before could possibly return under public health guidelines.
Halifax Sport and Social Club
Another organization that will have recreational sports taking place in the city is the Halifax Sport and Social Club (HSSC).
The organization will run its fall season from September to December. The winter season will begin in January 2021 and continue until April. All sports are coed, and all teams require both male and female players.
Sports that will be played in the fall season include curling, soccer, volleyball, floor hockey, softball and badminton among several others. They hold competitions at several HRM facilities. Some include the George Dixon Centre on Brunswick Street, the Canada Games Centre in Clayton Park and the East Coast Varsity Dome in Dartmouth.
The HSSC will enforce safety measures to abide by COVID-19 guidelines such as screening and sanitizing protocols. They mandate teams to elect a team safety ambassador from their players who will ensure all players on their team follow the safety measures throughout the season.
HSCC sports operations manager Nicole Carlson extended an invitation to Dalhousie students to join HSSC sports.
“The school year looks a lot different this year and other cities where we operate intramurals have definitely been impacted,” Carlson said. “Any students who want to play sports, we’d love to have them out.”
LUG runs recreational sports leagues across Canada and now includes Halifax. Its leagues are targeted at post-secondary students and while there is no age limit, players must be at least 17.
The league has been running a softball league in Halifax since Sept. 19, 2020. Teams in LUG leagues are scheduled to play seven or eight games. In an email to the Dalhousie Gazette, LUG said hockey is scheduled to begin the first week of November at the Scotiabank Centre and the RBC Centre in Dartmouth, although this is subject to change in the event a COVID-19 spike appears. LUG also administers e-sports competitions.
The hockey season is scheduled to run from November 2020 until March 2021 and will take breaks around the student schedules. Breaks include during exams, reading week, Christmas break, St. Patrick’s Day and major events like the Super Bowl.
LUG will run three hockey divisions this season in Halifax: the A division targets former junior/AAA level players, B division is for players who played competitively below the AAA level, and C division is for house league players, players who have played casually and beginners to the sport.
They will play 4-on-4 this season (four players on the ice per team, plus a goalie) to help follow COVID-19 protocols. LUG has stated it has rules in place to adhere to the provincial requirements, including no faceoffs and requires “chirping” (trash talking) to be done at a distance.
All three organizations said they will remove any team from their respective competition should they not follow the COVID-19 protocols put in place.