March 02, 2021
RE: 2021 Canadian Fastpitch Championships (Men’s & Master Men’s; U19 Men’s)
With the most recent developments regarding the COVID-19 virus and the introduction of the new variant B117, Softball Newfoundland Labrador (Softball NL) continues to express concerns surrounding the overall health and safety issues faced with respect to hosting major softball events, such as the 2021 Men’s & Master Men’s and 2021 U19 Men’s Canadian Fastpitch Championships – which gathers athletes, coaches, umpires and spectators from across Canada.
As a result, Softball NL would like to take this opportunity to advise its membership that due to the current health climate, and taking many factors into consideration, that Softball NL have once again made the difficult decision to relinquish its Hosting Rights for the 2021 Men’s & Master Men’s Canadian Fastpitch Championship scheduled for St. John’s, NL (September 1-5) and Carbonear have also made the decision to waive its Hosting Rights for the 2021 U19 Men’s Canadian Fastpitch Championship scheduled for Carbonear, NL (August 3-8).
The Softball NL Board of Directors expressed overall disappointment that these decisions had to be made for a second straight year, but collectively acknowledged, agreed with and supported the decisions because it is the responsible decisions as health and safety is paramount. It was agreed that with the introduction of the new variant (B117) and with the recent community transfer of the COVID-19 virus that there remains too many unknown factors at this stage. Further to that, there are too many questions surrounding insufficient vaccinations across Canada, delays in vaccine availability, high number of COVID-19 cases from Provinces that usually attend these events, the requirement for a 14-day isolation which is unlikely to be lifted for those coming from out of Province if vaccination levels are not substantially higher that than they are now, public gatherings are unlikely to be increased to a level necessary to generate spectator levels sufficient to make these events financially viable, sponsorship support may not be there as it is unknown if 1) Public Health Guidance will permit these tournaments to take place and 2 ) many businesses have experienced a decrease in earnings in 2020 and as a result may not be in a position to sponsor these events, and volunteer support (which is the driving force behind these events) may be down significantly as many may shy away from putting themselves in the middle of an unknown situation.
Nationally, it is unknown what the directive will be from the Government of Canada and Health Ministry with respect to permissible activities this summer.
Provincially, it is also unknown what the directive will be from Public Health Officials pertaining to Alert Levels, as well as the level of activities permitted this summer.
Softball NL’s partners in these events; including local business, various government levels and the community as a whole are still facing stark uncertainties and unknowns, which would make the organization of these events extremely difficult. Unfortunately, the timing and answers to these questions are not finite; therefore not allowing the proper preparation and organization that these events have received in the past and rightly deserve.
From the Host Committees viewpoint, health and safety is paramount, but financial concerns are a stark reality. Due to all the reasons provided above it is anticipated that there will be a major financial hardship when it comes to sponsorship opportunities, ticket sales and attendance. Further to that, with current travel restrictions, as well as potential increased travel restrictions, it is not reasonable to expect athletes, coaches and support staff to have to travel or arrive 14-days prior to these events in order to self-isolate. The overall economics of hosting the 2021 Men’s & Master Men’s Canadian Fastpitch Championship (St. John’s, NL) and the 2021 U19 Men’s Canadian Fastpitch Championship (Carbonear, NL) are not viable.
Softball NL believes collectively that these are the right decisions. Softball NL’s track record of Hosting Canadian Fastpitch Championships are well documented and as an organization remain committed and dedicated to securing future Canadian Fastpitch Championships starting as early as the 2022 season!
As a result, focus and energy will now shift on continuing to monitor the current state of COVID-19 and further developing and redefining the Softball NL Return To Play Model for the summer of 2021 which will meet Federal, Provincial/Territorial and Municipal restrictions so all athletes, coaches, umpires, and supporters can continue to be involved, as least in some organized form, with the game we all love.
Softball NL would like to Thank its entire membership & sponsors for your support and understanding.
Yours In Softball
Softball NL President
1296A Kenmount Road
Paradise, NL A1L 1N3