The 2022 Ontario Scotties Tournament of Hearts is the latest provincial women’s curling championship to be affected by the current COVID-19 wave.
The Ontario Curling Association (CurlON) suspended its provincial playdowns - scheduled to run from Jan. 5-9 in Thornhill - on Monday after Premier Doug Ford announced further restrictions in the province to combat the current surge of positive cases due to the Omicron variant.
Part of the restrictions include, "closing indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues." The restrictions are in place until Jan. 26 when they will be reassessed.
"CurlON reviewed all opportunities to host this championship, after consideration for the safety of athletes, supporters, volunteers and staff in mind and the province's guidelines, it was a clear decision that hosting the event was impossible and could not guarantee a success for any party," CurlON said in a statement.
CurlON kept the door open for the Ontario Scotties to be played at a later date if possible. The national Scotties Tournament of Hearts are scheduled to take place in Thunder Bay from Jan. 28-Feb. 6.
In the release, CurlON said they will pick a provincial representative for the Canadian championship by Friday after a "careful review."
Rachel Homan's Ottawa-based team were selected to represent Team Ontario for last year's Scotties inside the Calgary bubble.
Homan, Hollie Duncan, Jacqueline Harrison, Susan Froud, Danielle Inglis, Lauren Mann and Jestyn Murphy were all in the Ontario Scotties field this year.
Northern Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have also been forced to cancel its playdowns due to COVID-19.
Kerri Einarson (Canada), Mackenzie Zacharias (Manitoba), Christina Black (Nova Scotia) and Brigitte MacPhail (Nunavut) have already qualified for nationals.