Mac’s hockey tournament in Calgary cancelled again due to COVID-19 concerns

A Calgary hockey tournament that hosts teams from Canada, the U.S. and Europe has been cancelled. 

The Mac’s U18AAA Tournament, which was scheduled for Monday, has been cancelled for the second year in a row. The 2021 tournament was expected to be the biggest yet, with 30 teams on the roster. 

Organizers say there were several reasons for the cancellation including advice from the provincial government, teams that weren’t able to attend, volunteers pulling out due to COVID-19 safety concerns and the possibility that young players could get stuck in Calgary if they test positive for COVID-19. 

“For it to get cancelled all of a sudden is pretty devastating,” said Brent Harrison, head coach of the U18 AAA Calgary Buffaloes. 

He says the cancellation means his players are missing out on important exposure to scouts.

“It’s something that these kids have looked forward to, you know, kind of their whole lives, the players they grew up going to this tournament watching, watching their older brothers, watching buddies,” he said. 

The tournament’s general manager, Jesse Hale, says he’s doing what he can to make up for those missed opportunities by sending clips to different scouts to get players on their radars.

He’s also working to see if rescheduling the event with all 30 teams for April is feasible. 

“Hopefully in four months time we’ll be in a better spot. And I don’t have a crystal ball, obviously, but that’s the commitment that we want to do,” he said.

“It’s definitely a priority of ours. I can’t promise that the event is going to happen, but I can promise that we’re going to do everything that we can to make it happen.” 

The Alberta government announced Tuesday that as of Dec. 24, venues that seat more than 1,000 people will be at 50 per cent capacity. 

For venues with capacity of 500 to 1,000 occupants, 500 people is the limit. No food or drink can be consumed in these venues.

Premier Jason Kenney said at a press conference Tuesday these changes will apply to NHL games, as well as the 2022 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships set to begin on Boxing Day.

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