Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack and Penticton Pinnacles alum James Fraser tries to hold off the Trinity Western Spartans during the Canada West conference championships at UBC in Vancouver, Nov., 2, 2018. (Photo by Rich Lam by UBC Athletics)

Canada West university sports conference reducing schedules for next season

EDMONTON — The Canada West conference is cutting schedules and reducing travel in many university sports for the 2020-21 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference said Monday it has had ”significant disruptions to member finances” during the crisis.

Canada West says the change will allow for games to occur in a shorter amount of time if COVID-19 restrictions limit the usual competition period.

Football, one of the first sports to start, will go to five games from eight during the regular season.

Soccer, rugby, field hockey, hockey, basketball and volleyball will also see reduced schedules.

The conference says it will revisit schedules for the 2021-22 season.

“While there remains uncertainty around when university sport will return, the CW Board of Directors has worked diligently to ensure that when it does the conference and our members are prepared to navigate the difficult financial realities ahead of us,” Canada West president Clint Hamilton said in a statement.

“The revised sport formats reflect the financial constraints our members will find themselves in as both a direct and indirect result of COVID-19. We remain hopeful that we will be able to compete during the 2020-21 season and deliver an excellent university sport experience for our student-athletes.”

Canada West is one of four regional conferences that is part of the national U Sports governing body.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2020.

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