After the U-SPORTS cancellation announcement of the fall season, including both men and women’s soccer teams at TRU, the Wolfpack members have been clinging onto the potential of a likely spring sports season.
Their questions were answered last Thursday after it was announced that no season will be staged during the 2020-2021 season in men and women’s basketball and volleyball at TRU.
The decision was based on the safety of all coaches and players who could be at risk due to gameplay, travel, spectating, and other factors. Naturally, the coaches and players are disappointed with the reality.
“I expected this decision, but I am disappointed. It is hard to fathom a year without a regular season,” Pat Hennelly, Men’s volleyball Head Coach said. “We knew going into it, that it was a long shot, but it is still hard to acknowledge.”
With the news, coaches will now change their strategy and outlook on the upcoming year. This is now a time for coaches to give rookies more exposure, try new tactics and become stronger athletes.
“We have seven graduating players this year so it is especially disappointing for them not to have a season in which we had a good shot at competing at the national tournament,” Chad Grimm, Women’s volleyball Head coach said. “We will still be looking to improve this year and continue to build the program. We hope to be able to get some good exhibition games against other universities within B.C. and we are grateful to still have the ability to get together and train as a team because we know this isn’t the case across our league and country.”
Wolfpack teams will now join other B.C. teams for the regional non-conference play that will ensure teams to cohort with three other teams and exclusively play them for matches. Once they are finished playing their desired number of games, teams will have to wait another two weeks before moving onto another cohort set of teams. It is the times of a new paradigm shift for student-athletes and coaches.
“I don’t feel we should use the terms season, games or league this year,” Scott Clarke, TRU men’s basketball head coach said. “It isn’t games we are playing, it is scrimmages and thus really an extension of practice. There will be a score but there are no standings, stats, etc. We look forward to the scrimmages and providing feedback on our training.”
Despite the obvious disappointment, some players are relieved by the decision. As COVID-19 cases surged, the worry of being exposed to the virus did as well.
“Personally, I am a little relieved that the season is cancelled just because a lot of teammates and I were not comfortable with travelling and competing at this time considering COVID-19,” Brendan Sullivan, member of the TRU basketball team admitted. “Coach Clarke has told us from the start that this is a year of development and that has been our main focus since September.”
Officially, there will be no competitive seasons for the Wolfpack during the 2020-2021 season. The reality is hard to face for athletes, coaches and fans, but it is based on the overriding principle to protect our athletes, families and communities.
Stay tuned for more info on whether or not the Wolfpack will allow spectators during the indoor scrimmages at TCC.