By City of Ottawa Sports Commissioner Mathieu Fleury
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It was only two years ago that the City of Ottawa Ringette Association (CORA) won the bid to host the 2020 Canadian Ringette Championships.
Planned for April 5 to 11, 2020 the event was to take place in rinks across the city.
Since winning the bid, it’s fair to say that there have been thousands of volunteer hours dedicated to getting Ottawa prepared for the event.
On March 13, just as the coronavirus pandemic was spreading quickly, Ringette Canada officially cancelled the event.
For the president of CORA, Phyllis Bergmans, she said to call it a disappointment is a vast understatement.
And it’s not the volunteer hours, or the cancellation calls to businesses, rinks, City facilities, or any of the services lined up for the event.
It is the athletes who were dreaming of competing in the under-16, U-19 and open events who lose out.
“We have a lot of athletes across Canada that this was their once-in-a-lifetime chance because they are ageing out, or for whatever the reasons,” highlighted Bergmans. “There are some young teenagers going into adulthood, and they have worked so hard to get here. They worked so hard to achieve this goal, and it is the top level. It is the best in Canada.”
Cancellations which followed included hotel rooms, a gala set for 2,000 people and a community pancake breakfast – all things Bergmans said the committee worked hard at organizing and securing to make the most of the 2020 Championships.
The next steps remain unclear. Whether CORA will be able to host in 2021 – which is the hope – is up in the air. Bergmans said she has put in a request to Ringette Canada, which would shift the Championships from planned 2021 host Calgary back to Ottawa next year, but she has yet to hear back.
“Keep your fingers, toes, everything crossed,” Bergmans said, adding that getting the 2021 event would bump all the Championship locations moving forward, but would give something for Ottawa to look forward to next Spring.