From the Northern Ontario Curling Association (NOCA): The Northern Ontario men’s and women’s curling championships scheduled for January 5-9, 2022 at the Kenora Recreation Centre in Kenora, ON have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
After much consultation with a variety of stakeholders including participants, Curling Canada, fellow provincial curling associations, the local organizing committee, and the Northern Ontario Curling Association’s staff and Board of Directors, the decision was made to cancel the 2022 Women’s Provincial (Scotties Tournament of Hearts qualifier) and postpone the 2022 Men’s Provincial (Tim Hortons Brier qualifier) until a later date (the deadline to determine a representative for the Brier is less immediate).
Many factors contributed to the decision, not the least of which was the association’s inability to ensure the health and safety of athletes, coaches, officials, contractors, volunteers, spectators, and others in absence of sufficient testing capacity across the province and in a community presently faced with a declared state of emergency. Without greater information about the effects of the omicron variant and the isolation scenarios it would cause by presenting at the venue, the association considered additional concerns about its ability to ensure that the integrity of the competition could be upheld in the current environment.
No decisions have been made with regards to how a women’s representative will be selected or when, where, or how a men’s competition will be held safely.
We would like to extend a tremendous amount of gratitude to the Curling Kenora committee who has been working tirelessly towards this occasion for the second consecutive season and was set to host a spectacular event for everyone involved.
We cannot begin to express how heartbroken we are to know what disappointment this decision will cause but we are looking forward to brighter days ahead. In the coming days we will continue to work towards a revised plan for men's provincial competition and will provide further information as it becomes available. NOCA would like to thank everyone for their patience and support as we navigate these ever-changing circumstances.
Bobby Ray, Executive Director Northern Ontario Curling Association
Hayley Smith, Board President Northern Ontario Curling Association