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UNBC Timberwolves lose basketball seasons after Canada West cancels winter sports amid COVID-19

No regular season, playoff or championships will take place
Vova Pluzhnikov was set to be a fifth-year veteran on UNBC's men's basketball team for the 2020-21 campaign, which is now cancelled by Canada West. (via UNBC Athletics)

It's another sad day for UNBC athletics and its players. 

After already having 2020-21 soccer seasons cancelled, Canada West has announced the conference will not go ahead with men's and women's basketball, volleyball, hockey, wrestling and women's rugby 7s. 

The announcement comes more than two weeks ahead of the originally scheduled Nov. 2 decision date, which was pushed from Oct. 8, after U-SPORTS chose to cancel all winter 2021 national championships today (Oct. 15) as well.

The Timberwolves had a total of 14 student-athletes who were scheduled to play their fifth and final seasons including seven players in men's soccer, two in women's soccer, three in men's basketball and two in women's basketball.

Canada West said the fate of championships in curling, track and field and swimming will be announced at a later date. 

In a release, Canada West says the conference's 17 members voted to cancel and defer sports due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. 

The task force includes Canada West athletic directors along with medical professionals. 

"Ensuring the health and safety of student-athletes and others Rising case numbers across portions of Western Canada, particularly in the age group of university students Continued inter-provincial travel restrictions imposed by provincial health authorities Financial impediments to ensuring safe competition, including higher travel costs (airfare, bus travel, and hotel), due to COVID-19 mitigation protocols," the announcement reads. 

"This isn't the outcome any of us wanted, however, it has become increasingly clear over the last few weeks that the environment wasn't going to change sufficiently to ensure safe competition in these sports.

"Ultimately our members saw no feasible path to staging Canada West events during the 2020-21 season in these sports. With today's decision our members have opted to provide clarity to our stakeholders, most importantly our student-athletes. Collectively we didn't take the decision to cancel fall competition lightly in June, and today's announcement is equally disappointing to everyone involved in university sport," Canada West President Clint Hamilton said. 

On June 8, Canada West cancelled its soccer seasons.

- with files from Kyle Balzer, PrinceGeorgeMatters