It’s the game again for children in the London area as youth sports leagues get the green light to restart.

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It’s the game again for children in the London area as youth sports leagues get the green light to restart.

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Ice rinks, football pitches and other sports centers can open their doors – up to half capacity – from January 31. These are the same rules under which local organizations operated before the start of the last COVID-19 shutdown in early January.

London’s hockey and soccer leagues are gearing up to welcome back young athletes.

“E especially with young children, they need exercise, they need interaction with the o the children, other players, with their coaches. It is really important said Tom Partalas, president of the BMO Center, an indoor soccer facility.

The announcement of the reopening of the provincial government on Thursday included vague language around increasing capacity to 50% in ‘non-spectator areas used for sport’, but no direct reference to youth leagues, causing some confusion.

The province confirmed Friday that the rules allow children’s sports to resume at the end of the month.

“While I can’t speak to specific leagues (or) sports, as some public health units have measures in place that apply to their jurisdictions, this should see the resumption of youth sport,” a wrote a spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott about the new rules in an emailed statement.

For youth sports leagues, this will mean following the same rules as at the end of 2021, before the most recent restrictions were added to address the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

We’re basically back to hockey the way it was,” Kevin Gardner, vice president of hockey operations for the London Jr. Knights, said of the reopening.

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“W We have underage midget kids, who are draftable players. These kids and their parents can’t wait to get back on the ice, they have scouts and everyone is watching them. . . w We also have AA teams and these parents and kids are just as excited to get back on the ice.

Some matches scheduled to be played this month will need to be rescheduled before the season resumes. Coaches and league officials are “cautiously optimistic” waiting to hear specific rules regarding spectators and locker rooms, Gardner added.

Christmas tournaments in various sports leagues – including hockey and football – were canceled ahead of the shutdown as COVID-19 numbers began to climb and public health officials encouraged amateur sports organizations to voluntarily cut back their activity.

We didn’t want to have a super BMO Center spreader. I did everything we could, we follow ed all protocols,” Partalas said, even closing the facility before it was ordered by the province in December.

London City Hall officials said they did not yet have any details to share on the reopening of sports facilities beyond the provincial announcement.

Still, many in the sports world applaud the news.

“It was in the middle of winter, our busiest time,” Partalas said.

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