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Senior basketball semifinals postponed due to teacher job action

Two-day withdrawal of extracurricular activities sees Tuesday’s slate of games on hold pending ongoing rescheduling
The Moose Jaw High Schools Athletic Association senior girls and boys basketball leagues were to have played their semifinals on Tuesday night, but games have been postponed due to the STF job action.

Supporters of high school basketball in Moose Jaw are undoubtedly feeling a touch of deja vu at the moment, and not the good kind.

It was back in the spring of 2020 that high schools throughout the community were gearing up for the extravaganza known as Hoopla, which brings the top four teams in the province from each division to a central location for a massive weekend of provincial championship basketball.

Thousands of athletes and supporters were a little more than a week away from descending on the city when things suddenly came to a grinding halt.

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation had decided their impasse in contract negotiations had officially reached a head, and as a result, they were withdrawing support of all extracurricular activities -- including high school sports.

That meant the regional basketball championships scheduled for that weekend were off, and it seemed extremely unlikely that Hoopla in Moose Jaw would be taking place.

Only a few days later, none of that mattered, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and shut down things all over the world.

Four years later, Moose Jaw is once again set to host Hoopla. And as in 2020, the STF and the government find themselves at an impasse in contract negotiations, resulting in postponements and cancellations of high school sports in Moose Jaw and beyond.

The latest round of action announced Thursday afternoon has led to the cancellation of all extracurriculars for Tuesday and Wednesday next week, delivering a hard hit to the MJHSAA senior boys and girls basketball leagues.

Job action the previous week had seen a slate of seven regular-season games cancelled outright, and with the most recent round, the league semifinals scheduled for Tuesday have now also been postponed.

Vanier and Central were to play off in both the boys and girls divisions, as were Peacock and Swift Current, with the winners advancing to the league final on Mar. 11.

Now, all that is up in the air -- but the news isn’t all bad. 

League commissioner Stephane Gauvin was hard at work immediately after the announcement on Thursday, contacting coaches for all eight teams and putting together a rescheduling plan. 

How that’ll look remains the main question, especially if further job action takes place, but as of now the plan is to get the games in as soon as possible in order to keep things as close to on schedule as they can.

The city finals are scheduled for Tuesday, Mar. 11, with regionals during the Mar. 15 weekend and Hoopla slated for Mar. 21-23.

Be sure to keep an eye on for updates as they become available.

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