Spectators won’t be able to enjoy Quesnel Kangaroos action like captain Alessio Tomassetti scoring a goal until at least September of 2021. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Spectators won’t be able to enjoy Quesnel Kangaroos action like captain Alessio Tomassetti scoring a goal until at least September of 2021. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Quesnel Kangaroos’ CIHL championship defence on hold

The CIHL has canceled its 2020-21 season due to COVID-19 restrictions

The Quesnel Kangaroos will remain defending Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) champions for another year.

On Tuesday, Nov. 24, executives from around the league met and decided to cancel the 2020-21 season.

Kangaroos president Tyler Coleman was one of those executives.

“We’ve tried and tried and tried, and we don’t see the situation getting any better,” he said. “We decided to finally pull the pin and just say we’re cancelling the season.”

Play had been scheduled to resume in the CIHL in December, but with B.C.’s public health orders becoming more restrictive, the league wanted certainty.

READ MORE: All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

“It’s been an up and down and frustrating situation, but I’d rather have this answer saying we’re not [having a season] rather than constantly wondering if we’re going to [have a season],” Coleman said. “It allows us to not worry so much about whether we’re going to be able to have a season, or be ready to organize it or get ourselves to be in a position to be successful with all these constant unknowns. Now we can focus on hopefully next year getting back to playing.”

Even starting a successful season in 2021 is up in the air. Earlier in the year, Coleman said teams across the CIHL need at least 66 per cent capacity to run a season.

READ MORE: Quesnel Kangaroos season “unlikely” amid COVID-19 pandemic

“Who knows — right now everything is up in the air,” he said. “The hardest part of this whole situation is there is no end in sight.”

Coleman said he was worried for the long-term future of the Kangaroos if Quesnel takes a turn for the worse, but he expected things to turn around.

“The challenge is are you going to have your team — Are they going to be living here anymore, are they going to be around, are they going to be available,” he asked. “You can’t count that sort of situation out… [Although] the likelihood is we’ll probably all still be around, and we’ll be ready to go when things happen.”

Kangaroos merchandise can be requested through the team’s website. Earlier this year, Coleman said the club was well-situated financially for a cancelled season.

As for defending the championship, Coleman is happy to store the title for one more year at least.

“We have no problem holding onto the trophy for another year,” he joked.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


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