The flooding catastrophe in the Fraser Valley and Interior that’s severed most overland connections to the Lower Mainland has also wreaked havoc with sports schedules.
Late Wednesday afternoon, BC School Sports announced there will be no provincial Subway Bowl champions crowned in Varsity and Junior Varsity football this season.
Rather, regional champions will be determined for a Coastal conference comprised of teams from the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island, as well as a North/Interior conference.
Travis Bell, the chair of the BC Secondary Schools Football advisory committee, said the decision to scuttle the provincial championship wasn’t easy.
“The current uncertainty of travel conditions between the Interior and Mainland, as well as the dynamic flooding situation in the Fraser Valley, were at the forefront of this decision-making process,” he said in a statement. “We feel it is the responsible decision to ensure the safety of our student athletes, coaches and supporters.:
The Terry Rox Ravens were scheduled to play its quarter-final game against the Kelowna Owls on Friday at Percy Perry Stadium. Instead, the team will get another week off before it plays the winner of Saturday’s game between Lord Tweedsmuir and Notre Dame in one of two semifinals scheduled for BC Place stadium Nov. 27.
The Ravens, which won all seven of its regular season games to finish atop the AAA Eastern Conference standings, had a bye through last weekend’s wild card round of playoffs.
The Centennial Centaurs, meanwhile, will play its quarter-final game against Vancouver College as scheduled on Saturday, 1 p.m., at O’Hagan Field in Vancouver. The winner of that game will also play at BC Place next Saturday against either Vancouver Island's Mt. Douglas or G.W. Graham, from Chilliwack. They’re scheduled to play Monday in Chilliwack. However, there’s no certainty that game can go ahead unless the flooding in the Fraser Valley subsides considerably and roads can be reopened.
The AAA Coastal Subway Bowl championship will be played Dec. 4 at BC Place.
BC School Sports said further changes are likely to occur with the provincial high school aquatics championships that are scheduled to begin Friday as well as the AA boys soccer championships that run Nov. 22 to 24 at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex.
The AAA soccer championship are also being played in Burnaby, Nov. 25 to 27. Three of the participants in that tournament are from the Tri-Cities: Dr. Charles Best Blue Devils, Riverside Rapids and Centennial Centaurs.
Meanwhile, the BC Hockey League has also made several adjustments to its schedule because teams can’t travel throughout the province.
The Coquitlam Express, which was stranded in Kamloops for two extra nights because it couldn’t get past damaged highways on its way back from a road trip to Prince George and Merritt last weekend, will play the Surrey Eagles Friday at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex instead of the Trail Smoke Eaters. The team’s game Saturday against the Cowichan Valley Capitals is unaffected. Both games start at 7 p.m.
In a statement on its website, the BCHL said it will update the status of all of this weekend’s postponed games as well as any potential future changes to the schedule in the coming days.
The tumult is another blow to the junior hockey league and the Express after the COVID-19 pandemic scuttled its playoffs in the 2019/’20 season and kept fans from arenas during a truncated 2020/’21 campaign.
Most of the Express players and staff returned home from Kamloops by plane on Tuesday, while general manager Tali Campbell and a couple more players caught a Harbour Air flight on Wednesday.