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Little NHL tournament cancelled

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The Little Native Hockey League (LNHL) has been cancelled amid concerns of COVID-19.

Nipissing First Nation (NFN) was set to be the host nation for the 49th annual tournament. Because of the size of the event, it is held every year in Mississauga.

Organizers of the tournament said the decision was made after a conference call between the LNHL executive and committee members from NFN.

“The health and safety of LNHL participants and their families are paramount to tournament organizers,” the release read. “We have been relying on daily information from various public health officials, including the World Health Organization, Health Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Health, who continue to assess the risk as low in the Peel region. Having said that, we realize that Health Canada and other healthy authorities do not always base their health risk assessments with First Nation conditions in mind.”

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https://www.facebook.com/nipissingfirstnation/videos/244976486516070/

“The situation changed drastically overnight,” wrote organizers. “We have no reason to believe it will get better or be less concerning over the coming days and weeks. Serious concerns about the health and safety of LNHL participants and families, coupled with the cancellation of other major events, including the remainder of the NBA season, prompted the decision to cancel the 2020 LNHL tournament.

Earlier this week, NFN Chief Scott McLeod said the tournament would continue as planned.

“We’re working in step with the Mississauga health unit to make sure we are on top of the current situations and are taking all the precautions that we need to do,” he said at the time. “We’re just looking forward to a really great time with our kids and providing the best LNHL tournament to date.”

In the statement, McLeod had changed his mind, “This decision is regrettable, but unavoidable in light of the serious health risks associated with large public gatherings and the speed at which the coronavirus is spreading. The last thing we want is to see the virus spread to any First Nation communities, especially those that have limited access to health facilities and already face pre-existing socio-economic challenges.”

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