Camosun College volleyball coach Charles Parkinson says the repercussions from the cancellation of the 2020-21 Pacwest sports season, announced Wednesday, will have more effects on graduating Grade 12 high school athletes than it will on current college athletes.
“I’m most concerned about that. I’m worried about a lost generation,” said Parkinson, who has guided the Chargers to four Pacwest men’s titles in making six consecutive conference finals.
Current Pacwest athletes will not lose a season of eligibility, creating an expected logjam for incoming freshman athletes next September.
“With no graduating athletes across the CCAA [Canadian Colleges Athletic Association] and U Sports, it’s going to be really tough for graduating Grade 12 athletes to find a place to play next year in post-secondary,” said Parkinson.
“They are in a real pickle and I worry about that,” added the former national team player and Pan Am Games bronze medallist, who has provided the volleyball colour commentary for CBC at five Olympic Games.
The cancelled Pacwest seasons will affect eight colleges across B.C., including Camosun College and Vancouver Island University teams.
The VIU Mariners men’s and women’s soccer teams are both the defending Pacwest champions from 2019. VIU, also with heralded national results in basketball and volleyball, was the Pacwest’s top school last season in terms of results across all sports.
Camosun will be impacted in its five varsity sports, including men’s and women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s golf.
“It’s disappointing, of course, but safety is the No. 1 concern,” said Parkinson. “We can control our own venues. But what we can’t control is the overnight travel and hotels and restaurants. And we would have been going into the Fraser Valley, where there are higher rates of transmission.”
So it will be basically a practice season.
“We’re training five days a week, and our guys are still motivated, but we’ve shifted our focus from game play to skill development,” said Parkinson, also slated to coach Team B.C. in boys’ volleyball at the 2022 Canada Summer Games in the Niagara Region.