JAMESTOWN — The Jamestown Lakers Disabled Hockey Program is cancelling its upcoming season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press conference Wednesday, officials announced the season is called off and that they hope to resume play next year. The season was slated to start in late September.
“Over the last few weeks we’ve seen destruction and chaos,” Program Director Blade Ellis said, blaming COVID-19 for the problems.
“We felt it was best if we cancel the 2020-21 season,” Ellis said. “It was an extremely emotional decision to make.”
He stressed player safety is the program’s first priority.
The decision was made two weeks ago, after discussions with staff and officials, he said.
Program Director Rodney Kolstee said while it is sad not having sports at this time, “It’s not the end of the world.”
“A lot of our kids have asthma and if we cancel or shutdown again we’d waste a lot of money,” he said. “We just don’t want our kids in the hospital.”
Former player and assistant coach of the sled team Cody Allshouse said he is hurt by not having the program this year, but he understands.
“This was supposed to be my 18th season, but as everyone knows, it kind of didn’t work out that way unfortunately.”
Allshouse admitted the decision has been very emotional for him personally.
“I didn’t think I’d be saying this, but I’m not going to lie, there has been a few times I have broken down in tears the last few days, not so much for me put for the players we have and new players and all the opportunities we had set up for different games.”
Allshouse said the program is like family and he is disappointed the season has been called off.
“It hurts to not be able to get into the arena, it hurts to not b able to get on the sleds and get out there and practice.”
Travel restrictions and what Allshouse called “red tape” created too many obstacles to hold the upcoming season.