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Section VI: winter sports season to begin with no spectators allowed, wrestling moved to spring

Section VI large school boys hockey final set, Will North and Niagara Wheatfield to play for title
Posted at 3:23 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 20:11:27-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Following the announcement by New York State that high-risk sports can resume as soon as February 1 with clearance from local health departments, Section VI has released further guidance for its teams and athletes.

Section VI says the current winter season will include basketball and ice hockey and will begin February 1 with sectional championships completed by March 27. Bowling, rifle, swimming and skiing were previously allowed to start on January 4.

The season will begin with no spectators allowed, but officials will reassess that decision the week of February 22. Guidance from New York State would allow two spectators per athlete if Section VI switches its course.

“We are prepared to reassess where we are with infection rates and other data, the week of February 22. We certainly want families to be able to watch their athletes compete. But we need to offer districts the opportunity first to roll out protocols and gauge how successful they are.”

Wrestling has been moved to the revised spring season which will run from May 10 to June 30 along with baseball, softball, tennis, lacrosse and track. The section will not participate in state play this spring. The move of wrestling from the winter season to the spring season comes following a recommendation from local county health departments.

“Our Executive Committee met with representatives from all five counties and chose to follow the pleas of our health officials and the CDC, to pause our wrestling season, “Section President, Brett Banker said. “We never discussed canceling wrestling completely although that was an option. We know that a move to spring may cause conflicts with athletes and coaches, however we are thankful we had this alternative.”

The season that NYSPHSAA refers to as Fall 2 with football, volleyball and cheerleading will now run March 22 to May 15.

St. Francis High School Principal Thomas Braunscheidel says playing sports is so important for many of his students.

"The physical exercise that they're getting is good for their minds and their bodies," he said.

He says if having no spectators is the price to pay to be able to play, it's what has to happen.

"Whatever we can do to have these students out there competing, and having the social interaction they need to stay healthy."