The UVic Vikes celebrate winning their second straight national championship, a 3-1 defeat over the Guelph Gryphons, at UVic in November of 2019. The team will have to wait before they can chase a third-straight field hockey title. (Armando Tura/UVic Vikes)

The UVic Vikes celebrate winning their second straight national championship, a 3-1 defeat over the Guelph Gryphons, at UVic in November of 2019. The team will have to wait before they can chase a third-straight field hockey title. (Armando Tura/UVic Vikes)

COVID-19 forces Vikes athletes off the field this fall

Decision on basketball season expected by Oct. 8

The chance for a ‘three-peat’ will have to wait for the UVic Vikes field hockey team that has won the past two national championships as the fall season since university team sports was officially canceled.

The Canada West conference said there would be no regular season, playoff or championship competitions for men’s and women’s soccer, women’s rugby 15s and women’s field hockey, all of which the Vikes would have participated in during the first term of the 2020-21 season. Men’s football was also canceled. Club sports, such as UVic’s hockey team in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League, and all non-U SPORT teams, will also have their fall season cancelled.

READ ALSO: Canada West cancels fall sports due to COVID-19

All U-SPORTS national championships are also canceled.

“We recognize the significant impact of these decisions on our student-athletes and programs,” said Clint Hamilton, Canada West president and the director of Athletics and Recreation. “With most of our student-athletes studying in an online environment, we will continue to provide support to our returning student-athletes and 2020-21 incoming class in preparation for an eventual return to competition in 2021.”

Not all Vikes team sports are cancelled, at least not yet. The Vikes Athletics department will extend the decision to cancel rowing, men’s rugby, until Oct. 8.

However, “UVic’s cross-country, golf and swimming programs will not be competing in their usual ‘regular season,’” said Vikes sports information coordinator Tyler Lowey. “On July 15, another decision will come down from Canada West about whether or not those conference championships will occur.”

The Vikes stated in a release that they hope their athletes will be permitted to train and compete informally. Vikes Athletics staff members are working on return-to-train plans that conform with health and safety measures for the reinstatement of in-person training and facility reopening.

A decision on basketball, which starts in the first term and continues into the second term, is expected by Oct. 8. Should the Vikes basketball programs compete it will be no sooner than Jan. 21. A decision on track and field, and women’s rugby 7s, is also anticipated by Oct. 8.

READ ALSO: Vikes take back-to-back national field hockey titles

reporter@oakbaynews.com

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