Story by Zach Avery, Editor-in-Chief
Photographs courtesy of Zach Avery
This new semester has seen an abundance of postponements and cancellations due to COVID-19 exposure in both Aquinas’ athletics program and the athletics programs of other local schools, with three postponements occurring this past weekend alone for both Men’s and Women’s Hockey. These recurring incidents have AQ coaching staff considering the effects this pandemic has on their programs and what the spring season may hold in store.
“We’re kind of at the mercy of COVID,” said Lisa Brown-Miller, the head coach for AQ Women’s Hockey. “We’re doing the best we can to stay safe, but if we’re exposed we need to follow protocol. Our opponents are doing the same.”
For the Men’s Hockey team, recent postponements with WHAC schools like Cleary and Rochester due to complications with COVID on the opposing team have left substitution matches up in the air.
“Rescheduling will likely be incredibly difficult due to certain rules and timing,” said Jordan Permoda, the head coach for Men’s Hockey.
Programs like Men’s Hockey are limited to only two conference contests per week, and with WHAC finals coming up soon it complicates the possibility of fitting in those missed matches.
“There’s always a certain level of concern, but worrying doesn’t get us anywhere,” Permoda said. “We got word on Monday that Rochester wouldn’t be able to play.”
Unfortunately, Men’s and Women’s Hockey are not the only athletic programs currently at the whims of COVID-19. The JV Women’s Basketball team had multiple cancellations with Delta and Cornerstone this past month after some players became COVID positive.
“Then we had injuries on top of that,” said Stephanie Fisher, the team’s assistant coach.
As our athletics programs head further into a somewhat turbulent season, they choose to rely more and more upon the health and safety procedures that have been at place with Aquinas since the fall. Policies like “Return to Play” involve athletes being cleared by a doctor during periods of possible exposure, monitoring their hearts and lungs so as to detect ongoing symptoms.
And teams with particularly large rosters, such as the Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams, can assuredly attend games with enough players present, even when some students may be out for injuries or COVID-19 exposure.
“It’s not the sort of season you’d expect to have,” Brown-Miller said. “But our sense of normal is not the same.”
Support our Aquinas hockey teams by attending their matches this Friday at 7:30 P.M. and 8:00 P.M. at Southside Arena in Byron Center.