OLDS — Two representatives of the Olds Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) are hopeful their practices and games can continue their return to normal, now that COVID restrictions have been lifted.
Outgoing OMHA president Rich McDonald and incoming president Rob Turville both expressed that hope during an interview with the Albertan.
"I know that everyone was really excited and hopeful for this year that we would have a full season and be able to have all our regular season games and not get interrupted by any COVID shutdowns,” McDonald said.
“We were all a little bit leery, but we were trying to be optimistic. And that was the hope, that we could play a full year without any interruptions, for sure.”
Turville echoed that thought.
“I think the biggest thing going into next year, fingers crossed, let’s hope we don’t have another COVID-ridden season. Things seem to be pointing in the right direction,” Turville said.
Both noted that many COVID symptoms appear to be similar – if not the same – as a cold or flu, and that makes it all the more confusing for kids, parents or guardians.
"It’s hard to know where we’re heading with that,” McDonald said. “I think again, as far as minor hockey goes, we’re hopeful and optimistic that we’re going in the right direction and we won’t have the shutdowns.”
Turville said pandemic restrictions instituted over the past couple of years have been really tough on children enrolled in the OMHA.
“I mean, hockey, for a lot of kids, is their life,” he said. “That’s what they get up every morning and look forward to and that’s been stripped from them for a year-and-a-half over the last couple of years – whatever it is.
“And so, to kind of get out of it and kind of have things seem like we’re getting back to normal, you just hate to see that happen again to these kids.
“Being active and being part of a team, you know, I think that’s huge for the mental health of these kids. I think they’re better off mentally to be able to go out and play hockey instead of being told to sit at home.”