By Ben Macintosh
Photo credits: UPEI Panthers
The Golden Path Trophy will not be awarded to the winner of the U Sports womenâ€™s hockey championship this year due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Late last week U Sports announced the cancellation of both menâ€™s and womenâ€™s hockey and volleyball championships. UPEI was scheduled to host the womenâ€™s hockey championship.
The Panthers were preparing for their quarterfinal game on Friday, when the cancellation was announced. Pantherâ€™s Head Coach Bruce Donaldson says the cancellation is disappointing.
â€œDisappointing but totally understandable in terms of why the decision was made,â€ he said.
â€œThe team has had an amazing year and as their coach I’m so proud of everything they accomplished.â€
There are six graduating players on the team. Donaldson says for them the cancellation is even more disappointing.
â€œIt’s especially difficult for our 4th and 5th year graduating players who have dedicated the past 30 months to prepare for tonight’s game.â€
Two quarterfinal games had already been played at the Bell Aliant Centre in Charlottetown, before the decision to cancel the championship had been made.
In a statement on Thursday, U Sports says the decision to cancel the championships follows other groups taking similar actions.
â€œThe decision was made following Hockey Canadaâ€™s announcement to cancel all sanctioned activities due to the evolving global situation regarding COVID-19.â€
The U Sports championships were not the only sporting events this week affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
On Wednesday night the National Basketball Association announced it would be suspending games until further notice. Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer and many other leagues announced on Thursday, that they too would be pausing their seasons until further notice.