Fort McMurray Giants' 2020 season cancelled because of COVID-19

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The Fort McMurray Giants will not be playing baseball in 2020, after the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) determined a normal season is not possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the league, the decision was made because “it would be impossible to guarantee the safety of players, coaches, umpires, host families, staff, volunteers and fans.”

Current public health orders from municipal, provincial and federal leaders would also be difficult to navigate.

The decision was unanimously approved by the board of governors and announced in a Wednesday morning media statement.

Gatherings limited to 50 people or less means “teams would face serious challenges trying to get fans into the stadiums.”

The league also considered reducing stadium capacity, but the financial impact on teams would be significant.

“Unfortunately, our franchises will not be able to adjust to the economic impact of such a model,” the statement reads. “Our teams rely mainly on park-generated revenues plus the community initiatives to fund operations.”


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Social distancing in clubhouses and on buses would also be a challenge, assuming all the players would be able to meet.

The U.S.-Canada border is closed at least until June 22. For anyone arriving in Canada, the federal government is requiring a mandatory 14-day quarantine. With these restrictions, the league says “we would not have enough time to carry out the season.”

The WCBL statement says the league considered multiple solutions, including starting the season on July 4 or playing with Canadian players only to avoid cross-border problems.

The league thanked players, fans and communities, adding it was “heartbreaking that we will have to go a summer without baseball in the WCBL.”

Last year, the Giants ended their season with 28 wins and a .500. They were one win away from making the playoffs.

The Giants’ season was originally scheduled to start in May. The team announced the cancellation on their social media pages.

“Very tough decision but we believe the right one has been made,” reads the Fort McMurray Giants’ Facebook post. “Time to start planning for 2021! It will be awhile but we can’t wait to see everyone at the park next summer!”

Challenges of navigating COVID-19 for sports organizations is not unique to the Giants.

The Monarchs are also waiting on a decision on if they will play in the fall, while minor baseball in Fort McMurray has also been delayed.

The 2020 Baseball Canada Cup, which Fort McMurray was scheduled to host in August, has also been moved to 2023.

A decision on the upcoming 2020-21 Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) season will be made by Hockey Canada in upcoming weeks. The Oil Barons typically begin their season in mid-September.