Hockey teams staying close to home as COVID-19 cases remain low in Kingston
KINGSTON -- Health officials in Kingston are encouraging those on sports teams to play at home this season, as they work to keep COVID-19 cases low in the city.
For players like Reid Delaney, who plays goalie with the Kingston Canadians, this time of year would often be spent travelling to a new city on weekends to face different teams in the division.
"Usually my team would play on like a Saturday night, so we’d leave Kingston around noon if we’re playing at 4 or 5, in say, Oshawa,” Delaney tells CTV News Ottawa. "You get to play some cool games; get to meet a lot of cool people.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has put those plans on ice for this year.
Coach Donald Thomas says travel for games with his players would be nice, but isn’t necessary.
"There’s a public health crisis right now," Thomas says. "I think all of us need to understand risking anybody’s life to go on a bus two hours and play a hockey game is not quite reasonable."
There are only seven active cases of COVID-19 in Kingston as of Wednesday, many linked to travel.
To keep that number low, Kingston public health is reminding sports teams to stay where the risk of infection is low and avoid games in hotspots like Ottawa and Toronto
"Travel to areas where there is more COVID-19 transmission increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19," said Dr. Kieran Moore, Kington, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Medical Officer of Health in a statement. "Staying home when you are sick and staying local is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19."
Enrico Caruso with the Kingston Hockey Association agrees and says there are no plans to expand beyond the current bubble
"We took the approach of what we could control now, and this give the kids a great experience," says Caruso.
For those like Delaney, he says he will look on the bright side for now.
"I like staying inside of Kingston," Delaney says. "I like playing against my friends. It’s definitely more fun when you know the people who are shooting at you as a goalie, you definitely want to try to make those saves."