But no team sport has been affected as much by COVID as youth basketball. The sport had been mushrooming in Edmonton; in 2019-20, Edmonton Youth Basketball Association had 60 U13 youth boys teams in the league, and 34 girls teams in that age group. (Disclaimer: I have coached youth basketball the previous two seasons.)
The league, though, depends on access to gyms. And, be-cause the use of school gyms is off the table, a one-off October-December schedule has been created, with all teams playing only at the Saville Centre, which has already become a basketball hub, as anyone who has hunted desperately for a parking spot there on the weekend can attest to. Each team plays two games per session, to reduce the number of days they need to go to Saville.
The league told its coaches that registrations would have to be capped, and, according to Alberta Health Services’ guidelines, if a kid was playing another team sport, (s)he could not play minor basket-ball concurrently.
So, while minor hockey still has ice time and indoor soccer still has the soccer centres, the loss of school gyms has severely impacted basketball.
This article appears in the November 2020 issue of Edify