CHESHIRE, CT (WFSB) - All winter sports were postponed until mid-January, according to the group that governs high school sports.
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference made the determination on Tuesday morning.
The date it set to start the winter season was Jan. 19, 2021.
The CIAC had difficulties saving some fall sports. Winter athletics could be an even greater challenge.
High school hockey presented one of the trickiest situations for decision makers.
The team that plays at the Newington Ice Arena, for example, is a co-op with players from Newington, Berlin, Cromwell and Manchester. That is typical with ice hockey. There are so many CIAC teams made up of two, three, or even four schools.
That kind of interaction is not recommended, per health officials.
Still, multiple reports indicated that the CIAC was trying to save the high school hockey season.
Other winter sports such as basketball, wrestling, and track don’t have the multi-school team issue, but there are still many details that need to be ironed out before students potentially suit up.
"They're going to be disappointed because they're worried about having an experience in the winter, but I just would remind them and the coaches that there's no guarantees here. Safety comes first," said Steve Risser, Southington Schools Athletic Director.
Southington Athletic Director Steve Risser says athletes and parents were grateful to have the abbreviated fall season. He's hoping the delayed winter season will be a success as well.
"We know it's not going to be easy. It's going to take creativity. It's going to take flexibility," Risser said.
Of course, CIAC officials must monitor the COVID-19 numbers and limiting travel will likely be a priority. In fact, with that goal in mind, Channel 3 reported that the CIAC is expected to follow the fall scheduling guidelines, which means only conference games.
"The outlook isn't great over the next few months, so when you put all those factors together, we want our kids to be in classrooms for instruction and we want our communities to be safe," said Glenn Lungarini, Executive Director of CIAC.
Lungarini says they surveyed their membership schools. He says 41 percent of responders say they won't hold practices or games if they switch to remote learning. Another 44 percent say they will continue to hold practices and games.
Lungarini says the next step is to figure out the end dates for the winter season and tournament dates.
"We also understand and respect that everyone wants to give their kid the best experience they can. That's why we say January 19 is the day that we can do that with some certainty," Lungarini said.
Lungarini says they also want to figure out a schedule for spring sports and fall sports that were cancelled.