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Bombers, Valour FC still involved in community despite stadium closure

A Winnipeg Blue Bombers' helmet is seen in this file photo.
A Winnipeg Blue Bombers' helmet is seen in this file photo. Randall Paull/Global News

IG Field may be closed, Valour FC’s training camp may be suspended, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ season may be uncertain at this point amid the COVID-19 crisis, but the Winnipeg Football Club isn’t taking a break.

Wade Miller, president of both teams, told 680 CJOB that everything’s in a “holding pattern” as far as on-field play is concerned, but the teams and their players are staying involved with the Winnipeg community — from a safe, socially-isolated distance, of course — despite the coronavirus pandemic.

What is physical distancing?
What is physical distancing?

“The soccer team suspended training camp so we have the players in town waiting for a green light to get back at that. We’re lucky that football’s a few months away,” he said.

“Right now, there’s way bigger things than sports to be concerned about and for us to focus on.”

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Sport Manitoba’s Night of Champions goes virtual to honour its winners

Miller said the Bombers will be launching a colouring book series over the next week, as well as other activities for housebound kids through their social and digital platforms.

“I really believe we all need to come together, and when we’re together, we’re stronger,” he said.

There’s lots of things that we can all figure out how to support each other.”

The Bombers have also launched a stay-at-home speed training program, which will be circulated to more than 2,500 high school-aged football players as well, plus social initiatives like “Bomber puppies” have been generating a lot of interest online.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Winnipeg sports teams that have not yet started their seasons are in wait-and-see mode

While the Grey Cup-defending Bombers have some months to wait before they’ll know the fate of their season, the Canadian Premier League season. which had been scheduled to start in the middle of April, has been suspended to due the crisis. Miller said Valour — along with the rest of the league — will wait and see if and when the season will play out.

“We’ll take direction from the health officials and figure out when we get back on the pitch,” he said.

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“All professional sports are taking a pause, and it’s the right thing to do.”

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Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea on the importance of family
Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea on the importance of family

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.