COVID-19 UPDATE FROM NEZ SPORTS COUNCIL

COVID-19 Update from NEZ Baseball – May 17, 2020

On May 8, 2020 Baseball Alberta released a very disappointing update on the COVID-19 situation in regards to the opening or lack thereof of baseball activity in the Province of Alberta.

“Baseball Alberta’s Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel ALL in-person Baseball Alberta sanctioned events and activities until September 1, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

With the current Provincial Health orders and restrictions in place, such as social distancing, gathering limits and limitations on non-essential travel along with numerous municipal closures, we deemed this to be the best course of action to ensure the safety of our membership. The health and safety of our athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and fans was our main priority in arriving at this difficult decision.

This is a very fluid situation and is subject to change as new information becomes available. Baseball Alberta is currently developing return-to-train protocols to allow for the resumption of in-person baseball activities once it is deemed safe to do so.”

On May 15 an update from the Government of Alberta included:

“The Government of Alberta has announced Alberta’s relaunch strategy, with Stage 1 providing some additional outdoor recreation opportunities. The City of Edmonton is following the Alberta Government’s Guidance for Outdoor Recreation which, among other points, notes the following:

  • Municipalities may choose to open fields, playgrounds and courts for public use, but league play is not permitted.
  • Activities in public spaces should not include the sharing of common equipment, unless the individuals are from the same household.

Baseball diamonds and soccer fields in park spaces are open to the public for casual use in accordance with Alberta Health direction and guidelines whereby users must adhere to 2 metre physical distancing rules, ensuring gatherings are kept to 15 people or less, and should not include the sharing of common equipment unless the individuals are from the same household.”

Unfortunately with this latest announcement Northeast Zone Baseball has no choice but to follow the guideline of our governing body and the guidelines of Alberta Health and the Province of Alberta.  We are now declaring the 2020 regular baseball season cancelled.  All participants who have paid a registration fee will be entitled to a full refund.

What we propose is that we do not actually refund your money but rather hold it as a credit for Fall Ball, Camps & Clinics or to use towards next years registration fee.  If we hold your funds and registration fees for next season increase we would accept your childs’ registration at this years registration rate.

Many of you paid online and the cost to Northeast Zone for Point of Sale fees is substantial.  If we refund online that cost to NEZ doubles so we have already decided to refund by cheque rather that POS.   If you prefer to have a refund now, please send an email to nezsports@telus.net.  Include your childs’ name and the name you would like the cheque made out to.  Please also include your mailing address.

If you opt to allow us to hold your funds and your child does not play next season with NEZ, you will still be entitled to a full refund.

Now for some more hopeful information…..

NEZ Baseball together with Technical Director John Sutherland and Performance Director Patrick Spzak are working on Alternative Summer Programming like the Padres Virtual Summer Performance Program.  Information on summer programing will be sent out as soon as plans are finalized.  Hopefully some “Sand Lot” style play will be possible as Baseball Alberta works with the provincial health authorities on a “Return to Train” proposal.  And we are planning to play Fall Ball and to host our regular Fall & High Performance Programs and Community Winter Camps as part of the “Return to Play” approval expected on or after September 1.

And remember the situation is very fluid.  Stay tuned, stay safe and have a great summer.

COVID-19 UPDATE FROM NEZ HOCKEY – May 12, 2020

COVID-19 has brought many challenges to our sports communities.  As we continue to work through the challenges and required social distancing we want to look forward and prepare for a 2020-2021 hockey season that we hope will happen.

This week we are seeing some of the restrictions and closures change and end but at this time we really have no idea what will happen in September.  Will our children be back to school?  Will minor sports programs be allowed to operate? 

Northeast Zone Hockey together with the Braves, Eagles and Northstars will open online hockey registration as soon as it is available through Hockey Canada.  This will likely happen in early June.  We will not be taking online payments at that time.  We do not want to be in a position that we accept registration fees only to have to refund them at a later date.  We want to avoid the considerable costs associated with online payments and refunds.

We do encourage everyone to get registered so we can plan the season.  Hope to see you all at a hockey rink in September.

May 2, 2020: Although the City has kept ball fields open, it is important to remember that we are still under a state of emergency due to COVID-19 and the strict protocols put in place last week by the province apply through the summer: social/physical distancing of a minimum of 2m and group sizes less than 15.  It is also important to note that as of their most recent update, Baseball Alberta has suspended all sanctioned, in-person baseball activities until June 1.  

This means that in no way can NEZ Baseball including the Edmonton Padres or any of our members be seen as promoting structured, in-person baseball activities or disregarding the protocols put in place by the province.  We understand that families will get out and take advantage of the nicer weather and open ball fields, but please keep safe and healthy in doing so.  The stricter that everyone adheres to the rules, the quicker that we will hopefully be back on the fields for regular baseball activities.

Please also know that our coaches and players have NO insurance coverage through NEZ Sports Council, Baseball Alberta or Baseball Canada.

Keep active but stay safe and follow all the rules set out by Alberta & Canada Health, the City of Edmonton, the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada.  Hope to see you all soon!

April 18, 2020: Northeast Zone Sports Council and the Baseball and Softball Committees are still hoping that our kids can play ball this summer.  Here is where we are today:

Casinos and bingo halls remain closed.  There is no information on when they will reopen.  Rest assured that we will not be cashing any volunteer deposit cheques.  We will relook at volunteer commitments once we are again playing sports.

The City of Edmonton announced on April 15 that all Recreation Facilities including sports fields will remain closed until May 31, 2020. 

The update from Baseball Alberta on April 15 is:

The Baseball Alberta Board of Directors has made the decision to extend the suspension of ALL sanctioned Baseball Alberta in-person events until June 1, 2020. The Board will continue to meet on a regular basis to re-evaluate the situation as information becomes available, and will provide further updates following these meetings.

Baseball Alberta is fully behind associations doing something/modified seasons whatever that looks like and makes sense for that association.  It seems the associations in the greater Edmonton area are all hoping to run some type of season for their house league players – we may be able to work together with these associations if wanted/needed.

For now, we are all crossing our fingers and hoping we can hit the field sooner rather than later. We will know in advance when the “lockdown” will be lifted before it actually happens and at that time we can start the “planning”.

The latest from Softball Alberta was posted on April 1 advising that they are suspending all activities until May 1.  We expect this suspension will be extended.

So, this is still a “wait & see” situation.  We are not ready at this time to cancel our ball season.  Once the COVID-19 crisis has passed it will be very important that our children are able to get their lives back to normal and play sports.  We will keep everyone updated as new information becomes available.  

For all baseball inquiries please contact Dave Ball at balldave308@gmail.com

For softball inquiries please contact Joselyn Smith at hosie09@gmail.com

Stay well, stay healthy.  Hope to see you at a ballpark soon!

March 21, 2020: As we all work through this unprecedented Novel Coronaviris Pandemic, the Executive of Northeast Zone Sports Council and the Baseball, Hockey & Softball Committees wish you and your family health and safety.  Keep well, watch some old sports videos, play your fill of video games, stay in touch with family and friends on the phone, work on a long-forgotten craft and catch up on some of those things we never seem to have enough time for. 

The latest updates on our NEZ sports programs are: 

Hockey:  is over for the season.  Here is the latest statement from Hockey Edmonton: 

Edmonton, Alta. – March 13th, 2020    Based on the recent decision from Hockey Canada (see below) effective immediately all sanctioned minor hockey events in Edmonton are cancelled until further notice. This includes practices, playoff games, the S4 Skills event this weekend, sanctioned team activities, and all sanctioned tournaments. Please see the table below for additional specifics concerning types of events. 

We support Hockey Canada in this decision as the health and safety of our athletes, their families, and the community are of utmost importance to us.  

This means NO team activities. No meetings, no windup parties.  NEZ Hockey will be in touch at a later date to gather up equipment and uniforms from all the teams.  Leave your bank accounts open.  We will settle outstanding invoices and payments as soon as possible.  All hockey questions should be directed to Carlos Vieira at nezhockeydirector@gmail.com 

Baseball:  Currently NEZ Baseball has 315 participants registered online.  We are leaving the online registrations open and still encouraging registrations at this point. You don’t have to pay the fee when you register – select e-transfer, cash or cheque.  If you have registered and paid already and there is no ball this season we will refund all of your paid fees. 

We are all parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles.  We want healthy, happy kids and once the danger has passed we want to get our kids back to their regular activities as soon as we can.  Back to school and back into sports.  That is why we are not prepared at this time to call the whole season off.  We are just waiting.  The situation is very fluid.  Things change daily, hourly.  Perhaps a late start, a shortened season, a season that goes into the summer months….. 

The latest from Baseball Alberta is:  MARCH 20, 2020 UPDATE 

Baseball Alberta is suspending all sanctioned activities until April 30, 2020. 

We have been in discussions with Baseball Canada and the other provinces regarding the impact of the COVID-19 on the upcoming 2020 baseball season.  We have been collectively considering the best information available from our national and provincial health authorities on how best to manage activities in this unprecedented time.  Baseball Canada has advised that all sanctioned baseball activities are suspended until at least April 30, 2020.  

Baseball Alberta recognizes that this decision will result in many questions regarding the status of the 2020 house league / community and competition seasons.  While we do not haveall the answers to these questions, Baseball Alberta is working with its members and peers to determine the best path forward with protecting the health and safety of our participants – players, coaches, and umpires – as our highest priority

For all baseball inquiries please contact Dave Ball at balldave308@gmail.com 

Softball:  Much the same as baseball this program is also on-hold.  We currently have 97 online registrations and will leave online registration open at this time.  Softball Canada has suspended all activities until April 14, 2020.  So once again it is just a wait and see situation.  If there is no season, full refunds will be given. 

For softball inquiries please contact Joselyn Smith at hosie09@gmail.com 

As for the rest…..Casinos and bingo halls are closed.  If anyone is scheduled to work one for NEZ just sit tight and do not go to your assigned hall/date.  We will have a look at all volunteer requirements once we see if we have a ball season. 

Meetings are cancelled in the short-term.  The Executive of the Sports Council will continue to pay the bills and look after business. 

We will post updates on the NEZ Sports website as they become available.  www.nezsports.com 

Stay healthy.  See you all at a ball diamond or in a hockey rink as soon as life returns to “some kind of normal”. 

Best wishes, 

Lorraine Jex, President 

Northeast Zone Sports Council 

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