Mary Brown’s center was supposed to be packed with jubilant fans on Saturday and Sunday, but one COVID-related spot south of the border, the stands were empty all weekend, even before New restrictions apply on Sunday.
The City of San Francisco’s cats were scheduled to face the Newfoundland Rogues in St. John’s on Saturday and Sunday. But after arriving at the airport on Friday morning, the team was turned away because their PCR test results had yet to return.
Mike Steadman, owner of San Francisco City Cats, said frustration is something he hasn’t seen in a long time. “We were at the airport, all checked in, luggage on the conveyor belt and everything,” he said. “And then it happened.”
According to Steadman, the team conducted a PCR test on Wednesday.
This is 2 days before the release. Steadman was told that his team met all vaccine and testing requirements and would get results before leaving. “We were at the airport at 4am, our flight was at 7am, we were supposed to get results by 5am, and they didn’t come,” he said.
Steadman was told that the team’s results were delayed because the lab was overloaded with the COVID 19 test. With the arrival of the Omicron variant in Canada, the number of cases surged this week, with an average of more than 5,500 positive cases per day recorded in Canada.
The number forced the country to enforce stricter travel restrictions, including the requirement that all Canadians have to undergo a PCR test when returning from abroad. Not being allowed to board in San Francisco is “catastrophic” and “due to a great deal of effort to put this together,” Steadman said.
According to Steedman, the team needs a lineup of about 2025 players for international matches.
After many players dropped out for COVID-related reasons, it took time to find a fully vaccinated alternative with a renewed passport and available for the weekend trip.
“So it was not only quite devastating to us, but also safe for Tony [Kenny] of Canada because of the cost of canceling it,” he said.
Newfoundland Rogue assistant coach Stacey Leewood said there was also a lot of disappointment on the north side of the border. “Obviously this weekend should be the second weekend of Saturday night games, so these games are the ones fans usually look forward to,” she said.
“I know there were a lot of kids really looking forward to it, but of course I can’t see their favorite athletes right now, so we’re definitely disappointed.” Leawood said the cancellation was “What we wanted will not happen,” he said.
Leawood said that COVID 19 has caused havoc in the sports world for nearly two years, and organizations have learned to control what they can do. “I don’t think anyone wasn’t ready for this,” she said.
“I think people are disappointed because everyone expected this to happen at some point in the season, but I think they’ll still come out when we can play again.”