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Health & Wellness

Update on amateur sports cancellations in WNY

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Youth state hockey championships to be held in Western New York, which earlier this week were adjusted to close games to spectators, have now been called off entirely. High school regional boys basketball championships, meanwhile, are still scheduled to play in Buffalo this weekend but a spectator ban is now in place.

Section VI of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association is denying admission to games to be held Saturday, March 14, at Buffalo State College at the direction of the Erie County health Department, explained executive director Timm Slade in a written statement.

As per his message: "Participating school representatives allowed on site: superintendent, principal, and athletic director with no guests. The Basketball Regional Championships will be streamed live on the NFHS Network as originally scheduled. Only approved media will be allowed on site as well."

No fans will be admitted to the NYPHSAA state hockey championships this weekend at LECOM HarborCenter, which as of late Wednesday were still on as scheduled.

Youth hockey, however, has decided to call it a season now, before the conclusion of state championships. USA Hockey announced Wednesday it is canceling its annual National Championships as a COVID-19 related precaution.

The New York State Amateur Hockey Association, which earlier this week moved to close upcoming state youth championship games to fans in Amherst, Lockport and Niagara Falls, has now decided to follow USA Hockey's lead and cancel the championships.

"Other major hockey tournaments have already been canceled, and similar cancelations have occurred and are being considered in other sports; to say nothing of similar actions being taken by businesses, schools and colleges, governmental offices, houses of worship and other venues and events," said NYSAHA president Joe Baudo in a written statement. "Given the above, the Board of Directors of NYSAHA has decided to follow the lead of USA Hockey and cancel our remaining State tournaments this season due to safety concerns and governmental directives aimed at stemming the spread of and threats associated with coronavirus. These concerns are exceptionally serious, and the Board notes that the World Health Organization today declared coronavirus to be a global pandemic.

"The Board has taken this action with the utmost sadness for our many players hoping to play in our States and perhaps advance to nationals, and for their families and friends hoping to watch that happen. However, with advancement to nationals no longer a consideration, the safety of our game and its participants must be our only priority at this time. The Board wishes everyone a safe and healthy Spring and Summer, and hopes that next season we can avoid the disruptions we have experienced over the past few months."

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