The Riders played a few matches before updated regulations paused game play for the time being. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

The Riders played a few matches before updated regulations paused game play for the time being. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

‘Our 19s and 20s are allowed to skate with us again’: Ghostriders reunite at next on-ice training

ViaSport recently announced alterations to their prohibition of over-19s practicing with their teams

The Fernie Ghostriders are once again training as a full team as of January 2.

Changes to ViaSport’s regulations had previously prohibited athletes over the age of 19 to participate in organized sport until Jan. 8, but that was modified at the end of December.

“Our 19s and 20s are allowed to skate with us again, so our program is running as normal with our entire team now, which is super positive and hopefully a step in the right direction,” said head coach, Jeff Wagner, who felt the original division was an oversight ViaSport made when switching back to Phase Two of their Return to Sport back in early December.

While games are still on hold, Wagner hopes restrictions will be lifted in the New Year, adding that the team will continue their training program until they receive further guidance from the province delineating how they will proceed with the remainder of the season.

“Does this just become a development year where we don’t play games, does this become a year where we can salvage some competitive action, we just don’t know,” said Wagner.

“If (the restrictions get) extended, essentially our team continues to practice, continues to work out and train on and off the ice, and hope that it gets lifted within the end of the month – and then if it doesn’t, it just seems like it’s a reevaluation process.”

Wagner praised the team for remaining committed while their under-19s practiced together on-ice and older players focused on at-home training over the last few weeks.

“I’ve been impressed with our group…they made the best out of a poor situation,” said Wagner.

“The 18 year olds and younger, they got on the ice, they were competitive as best as they could be, and kept the intensity as high as it could be. And then the 19s and 20s stuck around and supported their teammates and got some off ice training done in our gym.”

The Riders are currently looking for different ways to give back to the community while remaining socially distant.

“Whether it’s shoveling snow for seniors, or whatever we can do, we’d love to use the Ghostriders as a platform to help out where we can in the community,” added Wagner.

Wagner encourages anyone with opportunities for the team to reach out via

READ MORE: ‘We feel as it’s an oversight’: Provincial extension on regulations affects Fernie Ghostriders

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