Hockey, basketball competition approved at WHS, WTA

WESTFIELD – It is not quite Midnight Madness, but it might as well be.
Basketball and hockey in the City of Westfield got the green light to return to action competitively Thursday with the Westfield School Committee voting unanimously to begin winter sports competitions previously approved by the MIAA and PVIAC under state guidelines.
“I’m excited to have the kids be able to compete,” said Westfield High School athletic coordinator Ryan Dunphy. “It was like the School Committee said – – it was nice to see the kids advocating for themselves. I am excited to finally get to see them compete with their teammates.”
School Board members received numerous e-mails the last few weeks from several student-athletes and their parents pleading for winter sports competitions to begin.
“I have not seen such passion about an activity … in my 20-plus years in public participation,” Westfield Director of Public Health Joseph Rouse said. “Yes, it is still high risk, but so are a lot of other things. …I feel pretty certain and rest assured that protocols will be followed.”
Approximately 10 percent of the student body participates in athletics, according to Dunphy.
“We don’t see a lot of clusters (of COVID) and transmission (of COVID) like we have seen in youth sports due to closer proximity and a lot more activity,” Rouse said. “I don’t have any reason to advocate against it. I think everything is in place to do it safely.”
Westfield and Westfield Technical Academy has been in a current state of practice mode leading up to Friday’s start date. The first Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference ski race of the season was held at Berkshire East in Charlemont and a virtual swimming and diving meet between Westfield and Agawam took place at their respective team’s home pools. The Bombers will swim at Westfield State University’s Ely Pool this season.
Due to overwhelming concerns regarding the coronavirus, Westfield State University officials are prohibiting spectators and members of the media from attending swimming and diving meets for the 2021 season. Basketball home games at Westfield High School and Westfield Technical Academy and hockey home games at Amelia Park Ice Arena will be limited to two family members per player. No visitors are allowed from away teams.
No spectators are allowed at allowed at girls ice hockey games.

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