Across Saskatchewan, athletes and coaches are rejoicing as outdoor sports can resume play as of May 30.
“It’s great news, I can’t wait,” Saskatoon Diamondbacks Catcher Riley Girod said. “Last year was tough, but even now I just can’t wait to get started.”
The return was announced last week by Premier Scott Moe in a video on Twitter. Outdoor sports were initially set to be reintegrated in Step 2, in late June.
I am very happy to announce that outdoor team sports and sports leagues can resume play as part of Step 1 of our Re-Opening Roadmap, starting this Sunday, May 30th.
Thank you for doing your part to get the kids back on the field. #StickItToCOVID pic.twitter.com/vmd3HTwYTV
— Scott Moe (@PremierScottMoe) May 25, 2021
“It was just a huge excitement that we were able to get moving forward,” Saskatoon Valkyries Head Coach Pat Barry said. “Then it was like, oh wow, we have a lot of things to figure out in a very short period of time.”
“Our organization was both shocked, relieved, (and) excited,” Saskatoon Youth Soccer Executive Director Amanda Probe echoed. “(Then) we quickly went into scramble mode.”
With less than a week to make final preparations for their respective upcoming seasons, both coaches and league executives have been going non-stop since the announcement.
“We have 306 teams that we needed to schedule games for, so that’s quite a bit,” Probe admitted. “It’s just over 3,000 players that are registered for this season.”
“Our season is going to be at a different time than anybody is used to, and in a different form,” Barry explained. “So, there’s no playbook for this.”
Aside from scheduling, operations will look a bit different from league to league, although some changes will be uniform.
They include: no interprovincial travel, any shared or commonly touched equipment must be disinfected between use, and spectator crowds must be under 150 people and maintain physical distancing.
A full list can be found here.
Despite all of the changes, both coaches and players are just happy to be back outside, enjoying the sports that they love.
“It came unexpectedly,” Girod said. “But, I’m happy for it and can’t wait to get the season going.”
“We have a lot more time together on the road to be around each other, learn more about each other, and to become a stronger team because of that,” Diamondbacks Head Coach Matt Kosteniuk said. “You know, we call each other a family for a reason, and if we don’t have that time on the road together, it’s hard to develop those relationships.”