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Coaches disappointed by OFSAA cancellation

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The Ontario Federation of Secondary School Athletic Association (OFSAA) announced last week that it has cancelled winter sports events. The sports that are being affected include hockey, skiing, basketball, volleyball, swimming and curling.

Nicole Clarke, the Muskie girls hockey coach, said they predicted there would be a cancellation because of pandemic restrictions, but that didn’t make it any less devastating.

“I think we hoped originally, that they also would take our region into account for specific sports but obviously that didn’t happen. They just cancelled it all,” Clarke said.

The news hit hard for the girl’s hockey team Clarke said because OFSAA had been cancelled since March, robbing the girl’s hockey team of their trip to OFSAA in the spring. The team has also won the bid to host the OFSAA ‘A/AA’ girls’ hockey championship in 2022 - a first for Fort Frances. The team was hoping to have more time to compete before being hosts.

Despite the setback, Clarke says most girls on the team have found ways to continue playing.

“I do know that most girls from our team are playing hockey, whether that’s with the boys or girls leagues in town… so it’s just nice to see that despite the cancellation that most of the girls have been able to get back on the ice in some shape or form,” Clarke said.

The disappointment rings true for the Muskies senior boys’ basketball team coach Greg Ste. Croix, but it is not overshadowed by the state of the pandemic.

“I think everyone’s disappointed in the cancelling of the season. We definitely understand why. It’s not a surprise with the way things are going globally. Extracurricular activities are on the back burner right now. First and foremost is everyone’s health,” Ste. Croix said.

Ste. Croix, who is currently teaching a grade 10 class, said he can see the disappointment in some of the junior boys’ basketball players in his class.

“Whether you’re on the girls’ volleyball team or basketball or curling, whatever it may be, extracurricular activities seems to be one of the heartbeats in our community and when that’s not available it’s a different year,” Ste. Croix said.

To keep the Muskie spirit alive, the school’s leadership group ran a November Blues basketball tournament, but it’s unsure what else will happen. However, Ste. Croix said there will probably be some activities held down the road to keep the students positive.

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