The UNBC Timberwolves will not be playing basketball this season.

This comes as a result of Canada West announcing no conference regular season, playoff, or championship events will take place for multiple sports.

Men’s and Women’s basketball, volleyball, hockey and wrestling along with women’s rugby 7’s have been cancelled.

Decisions on CW championships in curling, track & field, and swimming have been deferred to a later date.

A vote of the conference’s 17 members formally made the cancellations and deferrals, following recommendations from the CW Board of Directors based on information provided by the CW COVID-19 Task Force.

All CW fall team competition had previously been cancelled on June 8, while the conference’s golf championship was cancelled due to travel restrictions on September 22.

Following an announcement on October 2 to delay a decision on second term competition, the COVID-19 Task Force continued to evaluate the pandemic.

Ultimately the Board recommended to members that second term competition in basketball, volleyball, hockey, wrestling, and rugby 7s not be staged due to a host of factors, including:

  • Ensuring health and safety of student-athletes
  • Rising case numbers across portions of Western Canada, particularly in the age group of university students
  • Continued inter-provincial travel restrictions imposed by provincial health authorities
  • Financial impediments to ensuring safe competition, including higher travel costs (airfare, bus travel, and hotel), due to COVID-19 mitigation protocols

“This isn’t the outcome any of us wanted, however, it has become increasingly clear over the last few weeks that the environment wasn’t going to change sufficiently to ensure safe competition in these sports,” said CW president Clint Hamilton.

“Ultimately our members saw no feasible path to staging Canada West events during the 2020-21 season in these sports. With today’s decision, our members have opted to provide clarity to our stakeholders, most importantly our student-athletes.”

The announcement came on the same day that conference colleagues at Ontario University Athletics (OUA), and Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) announced their own cancellations and suspensions respectively.

U SPORTS announced their Board’s decision to cancel all remaining 2020-21 national championships on the same day.

Those impacted events include the women’s and men’s championships in basketball, hockey, swimming, track and field, volleyball and wrestling. Curling Canada previously announced the suspension of the 2021 university championships.

Despite the Canada West season being cancelled, conference members continue to explore competitive opportunities for their student-athletes, based on the principle of regional cohort play.

The conference supports member’s desire to provide student-athletes with safe competition opportunities while following health guidelines.

These competitions will be explored on a member-by-member basis through the remainder of the 2020-21 season.