Snowy facilities force cancellation of Calgary high school sports for most of April

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WATCH ABOVE: More than 150 sports games have been cancelled so far by the Calgary High School Athletic Association because sports fields across the city are buried in snow. More from Kevin Smith – Apr 17, 2018

Like many of her teammates, 17-year-old Maya Koudmani has had enough of practicing rugby inside the Ernest Manning High School gym.

“You can’t do a lot of rugby in a gym because you need space,” Koudmani said. “We try and scrimmage in the gym but someone kicks it and it hits the roof and it’s not the same.”

READ MORE: Calgary has crushed the monthly snowfall average 4 of the past 5 months 

The girls rugby team has to share the gym with the boys team and it’s really crowded.

“I’m sure you can tell, we’ve got about 30 guys running around in half of a gym,” said 17-year-old rugby player, Tate Kaufman.

“Inside, on hardwood floors, you can’t do tackling drills, you can’t do some of the more rough rugby stuff we’d be doing by this time outside.”

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But outside, Ernest Manning’s field is still buried.

It’s been tough for the school’s athletic director, Jovan Vujinovic, to organize team practices.

“It’s resulted in a lot of chaos in terms of trying to schedule and book teams in to get the time they need to practice,” Vujinovic said.

READ MORE: Calgary could see a month’s worth of snow in just over 24 hours

Boys and girls rugby teams squeezed into one gym, senior and junior field hockey packed into the other one.

More than 150 games have been cancelled across the city so far.

Taryn Gower, 16, plays junior field hockey and just wants to play some games.

“It kind of sucks but at the same time, we’re practising hard. Once we get out there we’re going to have fun and that’s the whole point,” Gower said.

Officials at Ernest Manning would like the City of Calgary to come and remove the snow and get the kids back on the field. The city says that could damage the turf and that Mother Nature will have to remove it, which of course, will take longer.

READ MORE: Ice storms, blizzards and high winds in April: Did spring forget about Canada? 

The city’s northwest facility manager, Alby Iamartino, says track and field won’t start until the Foothills and Glenmore tracks melt naturally and the same goes for soccer and rugby fields across the city.

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High school field hockey could start next week because those teams share the field at Shouldice Park, which was professionally cleared through a special arrangement with amateur football.

“We want to get our players out on the fields and it’s unfortunate we haven’t had that opportunity yet.”

READ MORE: Winter-like weather got you down? Here’s why the delay in spring may be affecting your mental health 

The rest of the spring sports now have an April 30 target date to start playing games.

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