(OTTAWA, ON – September 22, 2020) – The Aboriginal Sport Circle (ASC), through its Board of Directors, has passed a motion to cancel the 2021 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC). The games were to be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 1-9, 2021, hosted by the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council at the Seven Oaks Arena. The ASC’s decision to cancel next year’s event was made to safeguard the health of its fans, players, volunteers and the Canadian community at large.
Earlier this year-after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020-the ASC cancelled NAHC’s 2020 event, in alignment with Hockey Canada, who cancelled of all their own sanctioned events.
The number of COVID cases in Canada is again on the rise, since governments and businesses have re-opened and children have begun heading back to school. As the NAHC involves groups coming together from across the country, the potential of infections spreading between them would pose an unacceptable risk.
The ASC is “monitoring COVID-19 closely”
In a constructive meeting, the ASC Board noted that they are following the pandemic as well as Canada’s response closely. They also praised the work of the 2021 NAHC volunteers and the organizing committees who have devoted countless hours to prepare for the event.
“The health, safety and well-being of our community is most important to the ASC, our Board and the organizing committees,” said ASC CEO, Carey Calder. “While we are saddened to postpone this event due to the global pandemic, we look forward to a time when our athletes can hit the ice again to showcase their skills and pride for their regions when it is safe to do so.”
“The difficult decision to recommend postponing the 2021 NAHC was presented by the Hockey Committee considering all available information and uncertainties along with the risk to not only the athletes but their communities,” commented Jeff Spencer, the ASC’s Hockey Committee President. “But we believe it to be the right decision. He added that the ASC “will continue to work hard to ensure the next edition of the NAHC is the best one yet.”
The NAHC event is an important cultural event that fosters Indigenous unity and pride, and celebrates the athletic abilities of elite Indigenous athletes from across the country.
Aboriginal Sport Circle
About the ASC:
The ASC is a collective of Provincial/Territorial Sport Bodies who guide the direction and establish its national priorities. They are Canada’s national voice for Aboriginal sport, physical activity and recreation bringing together the interests of First Nations, Inuit & Métis peoples.
About the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC)
The ASC established the NAHC in 2002 to serve as the premiere competition for young Indigenous hockey players in Canada. It provides a forum for elite 13- to 17-year-old Indigenous male and female youth, attracting participation from First Nation, Inuit and Metis across thirteen provinces and territories. This annual event helps foster cultural unity and pride as well as an opportunity to celebrate the athletic abilities of Indigenous athletes from across the country.
For more information on the NAHC, please visit www.AboriginalSportCircle.ca/NAHC