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This will be a day in history I will always remember.

Effective March 16, 2019, Western Ball Hockey and the PKAG Arena will be closed until further notice due to COVID-19.

Over the past two and a half years, I have worked around the clock, usually 7 days a week, to grow a sport I love in the city I have spent my whole life in, while working a separate job to support myself.

I started the first season with my life savings and a brand new college degree, passing up jobs downtown “because I think I can grow a sport like nobody has ever done before”. Was that dumb? Maybe, but I had to see if it was possible.

Sports facilities are not cheap to run. It’s taken every ounce of will, grit, and persistence to even make it this far. It was barely even a month ago where I could finally look at the numbers and think to myself, “yep – this is sustainable for the long haul and I have verifiable proof that the sport is growing!”

This has all come to a grinding halt with the recent outbreak of COVID-19. As the City of Calgary has announced the closure of its own recreational facilities, Western Ball Hockey must also shut its doors to the public until it is safe and reasonable to open back up again.

This virus has and will cause sickness and death in a way we have likely never experienced before. For the people who are and will be affected by it, you have my sincere empathy and condolences. I am almost certain that at least one person in all of our families will get sick from it.

This virus will also destroy small and large businesses in a way we have never seen before. Many entrepreneurs are about to get left in the dust and it’s not going to be pretty. Many businesses are closing now and will never be opened again. I believe and hope that my business is not one of them, but just like nobody has immunity to this virus yet, no one can claim immunity to the macroeconomic shifts coming our way. These effects will be felt long after the virus has disappeared.

But I don’t care what the stats say. We’ve got a real bumpy road ahead, but as hard as I’ve worked to get Western Ball Hockey to where it is now, I have no plans to let it fade away now. I will not be part of the statistics of businesses that didn’t make it out of this abrupt halt in our normal way of life.

Thank you so much to the people who have supported everything I do. When we start back up again, I can’t wait to get back to connecting with players, coaching kids, and growing a sport that is affordable and accessible for everyone.

For those of you who play out of or rent time in the PKAG Arena, I ask that you send all questions to mark@westernballhockey.com so that I can organize all of the conversations properly and ensure that every single person gets the answers they are looking for.

All the best.

Mark

Categories: General