Durham College (DC) and Ontario Tech University (OTU) Athletics have announced campus intramurals will return this school year. All athletics programs were forced to stop operations in March, 2020 when COVID-19 arrived in larger numbers in Canada. As with many programs, things will not be ‘sports as usual’.
“I’m excited, it’s a lot of fun, something to do every week,” said Riley Collins, a fourth-year OTU kinesiology student. Collins played intramural hockey in 2019-20 before COVID-19 forced the first lockdown. He also was on the roster for the Ridgebacks men’s hockey team that year.
Andrew Richard, a student in his first and only year of business management at OTU added: “I’m excited, you know… I was at Laurier for four years and I got to do intramurals there for three years and our last year got cut short right before playoffs obviously because of the pandemic. I didn’t get a chance to do intramurals last year so excited hoping to get back in it.”
Although intramurals are back, as with many programs, things will be a little different, according to Durham College athletic director Ken Babcock.
For example, only one pad is available at the Campus Ice Centre because the other is still being used as a vaccination clinic. This means hockey is on hold at least until January, according to Babcock.
Three sports are running during the fall: badminton doubles and singles, volleyball, and 3-on-3 basketball. Full 5-on-5 basketball will not be available until some health restrictions are lifted, said Babcock.
The main protocol that must be followed is all participating students and staff must be fully vaccinated, according to Babcock, which is the same rule that applies for anyone to be on campus. Staff will also continue sanitizing and cleaning equipment regularly.
Babcock has no concerns when it comes to the safety of students and staff involved in making intramurals functional. He strongly believes both schools have done a great job in setting proper regulations and following safety protocols from health officials.
“We want to see intramurals going, we want to see students back, we’re excited about that,” said Babcock.