Provincial high school basketball tournament at risk of cancellation

One of the largest annual sporting events in Saskatchewan each year is at risk of being cancelled.

The Saskatchewan High School Athletics Association sent out a news release Tuesday morning, stating that due to the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation’s job action that was announced on Monday morning, Hoopla might not happen this year.

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Teachers have said they would impose sanctions starting Thursday morning, and would stop volunteering for extracurricular activities, including coaching sports. Many basketball teams, and other sports teams, are coached by teachers volunteering their time.

The SHSAA executive council met on Monday evening.

The executive reviewed past scenarios where teacher-government contract negotiations have impacted SHSAA activities and championships.

“The SHSAA relies heavily on the volunteer efforts of teachers across this province to provide educational athletic experiences to our students,” the SHSAA said in a news release. “Without Saskatchewan teachers available to participate in SHSAA activities as a coach, official, or organizer, SHSAA events cannot continue to be offered.

“This belief is consistent with the statements and thoughts provided by previous executive councils.”

Basketball playoffs will continue if efforts between the two bargaining committees can result in sanctions being lifted before 3:30 p.m. March 11. If sanctions are not lifted, all remaining basketball playoffs will be cancelled due to the lack of teacher involvement in the events, the loss of the qualification process, and the constraints for schools and host sites in planning and preparing for the events.

This would include Hoopla and regional qualifiers, which the Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs were scheduled to attend this weekend.  

“It will be most unfortunate if the two sides cannot come to an arrangement that will allow the sanctions to be lifted,” the SHSAA said.

Approximately 1,700 students and 300 coaches would be impacted by the cancellation, as will several other organizations and entities that are involved with SHSAA and the hosting of basketball playoffs.

The SHSAA says playoffs are a celebration of school sport in our province and provide a showcase for student-athletes as they finish their season of play. The playoffs are one of many programs that SHSAA utilizes to achieve the goals of school sport.

“The critical life skills that student athletes attain are accumulated through months of participation in a school sport program. That being said, it cannot be denied that an opportunity to participate in school sport playoffs is another means to enhance the learning opportunities of students as they develop citizenship skills in a competitive sport environment.”

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