Winter sports at the region’s high schools are the latest casualty of labour disruptions by teachers. With not enough teachers taking part in extracurriculars, the decision was made last week to cancel the Waterloo County Secondary School Athletics Association (WCSSAA) winter game schedules.
There have been no WCSSAA sports since the beginning of December due to the conflict between unions and the Ontario government.
Sports affected by the decision include hockey, basketball, volleyball and alpine skiing.
WCSSAA president Darcy Mintz said the decision was made January 11 after the association reviewed forms collected from the 16 public high schools detailing their stance on winter sports commitment. He said WCSSAA did see some teaching staff come forward with the wish to continue the season but in the end the numbers just didn’t add up.
“We sat down with those numbers, it wasn’t unanimous but there weren’t enough coaches in any sport to run a league,” he said Tuesday.
The disappointment from students is palpable as they worry about their athletic futures, while non-athletes mourn the loss of other extracurricular activities.
“I play sports a lot and it’s a big part of school. It helped to get more people involved,” said Caitlin Ditner, a Grade 10 student and basketball player at Elmira District Secondary School.
In most cases, student athletes have already paid the required fees needed to participate in their respective winter sports. Whether students can look forward to getting some money back is still to be determined but a decision on refunds will be made by the senior administration at a later date.
Local Catholic school students play for the District 8 Athletic Association and though it is a separate entity, there is some crossover with WCSSAA sports leagues. According to the website District 8 officials will keep all sports uninterrupted through the public school labour disputes.
EDSS student Eric Bowman, 16, plays football at the school and is concerned for the future of his sport come spring. He also says students should do their research on the issue at hand before judging the parties involved too harshly, though he can tell that the cancellations have greatly affected his peers.
“It’s really annoying to those kids; I hope it’s resolved by next football season.”
It’s too early to speculate whether the current situation will affect WCSSAA spring sports. Mintz says any decisions on that will be made following the next round of commitment reports from the schools closer to the season.