Silver Stick cancels all 2020 Canadian tourneys

Petrolia Oilers play in the 2015 Silver Stick. The tournament has been benched because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barry Wright/ The Independent

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed a holiday hockey tradition in Central Lambton.

In an email Monday, the International Silver Stick organizing group announced the cancellation of all regional Silver Stick tournaments in Canada for this season due to health concerns over COVID-19.

The list of cancelled events includes long-standing tournaments in Petrolia, Alvinston and Watford, all scheduled for this December and North American Finals set for Sarnia – both boys and girls – Mooretown and Lambton Shores in January 2021.

“We’re disappointed, but we weren’t surprised,” says Nick Salaris, Silver Stick Director for the Petrolia event.

“We understand the situation and respect the decision,” he added.

Online reaction to the decision ranged from disappointment to inevitable.
“Sad, but necessary,” read one post. “This shouldn’t surprise anyone,” says another.
Others said they couldn’t imagine a winter without Silver Stick.

Although, there are no official numbers for the economic impact of the regional tournaments to their respective communities, Salaris says teams typically frequent eating establishments during the tournaments leaving valuable dollars behind.

“It’s going to be different for our local businesses, that’s for sure,” he added.

In the past, Tourism Sarnia Lambton has estimated the events alone have an economic impact of about $2 million per year including almost $900,000 spent in food in local establishments and about $640,000 in accommodations.

Silver Stick says regional and finals tournaments in the United States, including the North American Finals in Port Huron, can proceed with the blessing of local and state officials. But, the latter will not likely involved any Canadian teams, says Salaris.