AMHERST, NY (WIVB) “It’s terrible that we have to be in this position,” said Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa says it wasn’t an easy call to ban parents and any spectators from watching this weekend’s NYS Amateur Hockey Association tournament.
The main reason for doing it is because at least five of the teams and their parents would be coming from Westchester County where there is a high rate of the coronavirus. “If not for teams in that quantity coming from downstate, and specifically from the areas that were targeted, we would not have been asked to review or consider cancelling the tournament.”
Kulpa says these rules are in effect at all three locations for the tournament; parents will have to drop off their players at the doors and can watch on a livestream. 54 teams are participating in the tournament. He fells it’s at least better than cancelling the tournament altogether.
“I think the tournament has to go on,” said Keith Waldron, a former travel hockey coach. “I really think that these kids have worked tirelessly all winter long to qualify. They need to play the tournament. I’m not sure it’s a great idea to keep the parents away but I understand their reason for doing it.”
Even the NCAA just announced that it will only allow essential staff and limited family attendance for the rest of this year’s tournament. The UB Women’s basketball team plays tonight in Cleveland under those rules.
“I think that the entities who make the decisions are not only making sure the spectators stay safe but also the players as well,” said Daniel Stapleton, Niagara County public health director. “So I think we’re at the point now where those types of things should be considered when we talk about large groups of people, especially enclosed in an area.”