Could we see some action later this year?
By Mo Hussain, Sports Reporter
“The absence of intercollegiate competition can never be replaced as a student engagement mechanism on campuses.”– Brian McLennon, PACWEST VP of marketing
The past year has thrown quite the challenge to the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST). The league has had to cancel both fall and winter athletics over the past year due the pandemic. This meant that both men’s and women’s soccer, basketball, and volleyball teams were not able to compete this year. This is quite significant considering how far the league reaches.
The league consists of many post-secondary institutions in the lower mainland including: Douglas College, Capilano University, and Langara College. It also spreads to some institutions on the island including Vancouver Island University and Camosun College. One could only imagine the logistics of coordinating inter-collegiate competition amidst the pandemic. However, with more vaccines rolling out and the provincial government announcing that in-person learning is coming back in the fall, the green light for a return to action may be in sight. Brian McLennon, PACWEST’s Vice President of Marketing, gave the Other Press an update on the state of the league.
Other Press: How has the last year been like?
Brian McLennon: “It has been an untraditional experience for PACWEST student-athletes. The absence of intercollegiate competition can never be replaced as a student engagement mechanism on campuses. However, member institutions explored innovative and creative ways to provide student-athletes with the opportunity to train, practice, and compete in modified inter-squad competition safely and within the approved via Sport Return to Play guidelines and the PHO (public health orders) orders.”
OP: How will the return of in-person learning impact PACWEST this year?
BM: “Academic delivery may look different from institution to institution based on the PHO guidelines, Ministry of Advance Education recommendations, local health authorities restrictions and institution specific programs. The PACWEST will continue our work with member institutions to explore how we can return to sport participation safely based on PHO orders at the time when the sport specific leagues are ready to resume.”
OP: What needs to take place before PACWEST is back in action?
BM: “Actually, the PACWEST as an organization continued to carry out business operations and remained ‘in action!’ Although student-athletes were unable to participate in intercollegiate competition, the conference remained active working with our members institutions to explore opportunities to engage our student-athletes, contributing to discussions regarding CCAA National Championships, and monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 best safety practices as it relates to post-secondary intercollegiate sport.”
McLennon went on to mention that the league’s annual general meeting will be held from May 10 to 13th, where they will discuss the upcoming 2021-22 season.