Grunthal hockey association cancels the season due to low registration

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The Grunthal Minor Hockey Association in Steinbach, Man., announced that children and youth won’t be playing hockey out of Grunthal this season because not enough people have signed up.

This is the first year that the association will not be running the program.

Association vice-president Rick Neufeld told 680 CJOB that sign-ups are down 70 per cent from last year — about 40 kids registered compared to around 130 last year.

Neufeld added the Manitoba public health orders requiring those over 18 to be fully-vaccinated in order to enter recreational facilities and play indoor sports could be responsible for the significant drop in applicants.

He said with the rules, there are exemptions for kids under 12 who cannot be vaccinated but anyone who is eligible is required to be vaccinated, which includes friends and family who want to come to the rink to watch.

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“It changes the atmosphere of hockey and I think that’s kept some people from putting their kids in hockey when they can put back door rinks up and family and friends can all come over and have a game of hockey,”

Neufeld says parents who have signed their kids up don’t need to worry as they will get to play hockey a short drive away in a neighbouring town.

“Every child that wants to play hockey, can play hockey.” he said.

The province’s top doctor, Brent Roussin, announced these new public health orders on Aug. 24, alongside Manitoba’s former premier, Brian Pallister.

Roussin said these new orders are being put into action in an effort to prevent a fourth wave of COVID-19 in the province.

“Ensuring that people are fully immunized before attending higher-risk events, activities and services will help reduce community spread of the virus,” Roussin said.

Peter Woods, a representative from Hockey Manitoba (HM) shared his thoughts about the new public health orders with 680 CJOB on Sept. 2 noting that he had heard quite a lot of push-back in regard to the new rules.

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“There’s some that feel that way because they wouldn’t be able to enter the facility if they don’t have a vaccination at this point, and they’d be 42 days away from actually doing that,” Woods said.

Neufeld notes another problem the association is having is there are fewer volunteers who are willing to help out.

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