The Red Deer Curling Classic, which was set to take place on Nov. 27, has been postponed because of the province's two-week pause on sports activities. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer sports groups frustrated by mandatory pause because of COVID

Red Deer Curling Classic, slated for Nov. 27 postponed by pause

The provincial government has imposed a two-week pause on most youth sports, as well as group fitness and group performance activities, in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Pidhereny Curling Club was one of the groups forced to close its doors for league play Friday.

General manager Wade Thurber said it’s difficult to understand why they are being lumped into the measure.

“I just feel like we’re not the problem. (Premier Jason Kenney) said they’ve experienced big outbreaks at funerals and weddings, and they can go ahead.

“We’re experiencing basically nothing at curling rinks,” said a frustrated Thurber.

“What’s the end game here? I don’t think two weeks of lockdown is going to make a bit of difference.”

Thurber noted the curling season has been going for about a month so far, and they had 235 adult teams competing, which is similar to last year.

The pause means the club also has to postpone the Red Deer Curling Classic, which was slated to start Nov. 27. Teams from all over the world typically attend the bonspiel.

Despite the setbacks, including a number of events cancelled by users, Thurber said the club is doing its best.

“We’re hanging in there, we’re OK,” Thurber said.

“That’s been tough too, that’s revenue for the club. We’re trying to get by somehow. Doesn’t help when they shut you down.”

Friday, the City of Red Deer suspended all group and aquatic fitness classes, group singing, dancing and performing activities, team sport activities, and group swimming lessons.

“We know this two-week pause is difficult, especially as the weather turns colder and we look for ways to stay active,” said city recreation superintendent Barb McKee.

“Recreation and culture are important to our mental and emotional well-being, and we encourage participation in other activities as it is safe to do so.”

McKee added that walking tracks, public swimming and skating, lane swimming, private swimming lessons, preschool programs and wall climbing are still available. Individual sports, exercise, training and equipment use are also available.

The Red Deer Minor Hockey Commission, one of the organizations also affected by the new regulations, said the news was tough to take.

“Certainly not a decision we were hoping to hear today, taking our teams off the ice for two weeks starting (Friday),” they said in a tweet.

“But, let’s all do our part to get back as soon as possible, Nov. 28.”

That second part of their statement was reiterated by several coaches. Under 15 AAA Bantam Rebels coach Justin Jarmolicz said his group worked hard in their last session before they were told the season would be postponed.

The Rebels are 4-0 in Alberta Elite Hockey League action and were set to start a new set of games on Saturday.

“I am so proud of these guys and how they are taking this. We had a blast at practice and these guys aren’t going to let all of their hard work up until now slip,” he said.

“They are so focused, it’s incredible. Nothing is going to stop them from achieving their goals this season.”

While minor hockey has been put on hold, the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Fitness Centre is still open.

The Dome and Thunder Country Trampoline, which are located in Red Deer County, also said Friday they are allowed to operate under Alberta Health Services rules.

Red Deer County, which has 10 active cases, does not fall under the criteria for enhanced measures, with less than 50 active cases per 100,000 people.

“Because the gym is not located in the enhanced measure area, we will remain open and classes will continue for the remainder of the session,” Thunder Country Trampoline wrote on its Facebook page.

Group fitness classes at Goodlife Fitness in Red Deer were cancelled Friday and will remain that way until Nov. 27, but the gym will remain open.

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