NIPISSING FIRST NATION—At 9:30 am today, a conference call was held between the Little NHL (LNHL) executive and host committee members from Nipissing First Nation to discuss the rapidly changing circumstances related to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in urban centres.
“The health and safety of LNHL participants and their families is paramount to the tournament organizers,” a press release from the LNHL states. “We have been relying on daily information from various public health officials, including the World Health Organization, Health Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Health, who continue to assess the risk as low in the Region of Peel. Having said that, we realize that Health Canada and other health authorities do not always base their health risk assessments with First nation conditions in mind.”
“The situation changed drastically overnight and we have no reason to believe that it will get better or be less concerning over the coming days and weeks,” the press release continues. “Serious concerns about the health and safety of LNHL participants and families, coupled with the cancellation of other major events, including the remainder of the NBA season, prompted the decision by Nipissing First Nation and the Little NHL Executive Committee to cancel the 2020 Little NHL tournament.”
“This decision is regrettable, but unavoidable in light of the serious health risks associated with large public gatherings and the speed at which the coronavirus is spreading,” said Chief Scott McLeod. “The last thing we want is to see this virus spread to any First Nation communities, especially those that have limited access to health facilities and already face pre-existing socio-economic challenges.”
The LNHL will be providing further updates in the near future.