Kitchener-Waterloo Titans exempt from COVID restrictions, GM says
KITCHENER – For the most part it’s business as usual for the National Basketball League of Canada.
Mel Kobe, vice president of basketball operations and general manager of the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans, said Thursday she had been assured by the Ontario government that NBLC teams are exempt from COVID-restrictions. 19 in effect until January 27.
Kobe said she spoke with an official from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries earlier this week and was told the NBLC was considered “the elite. And that the Sudbury, Windsor, London and KW teams were ready to start training camps this month. The Titans are set to begin their fifth season at the Aud on Saturday February 5 against the Windsor Express.
âWe are a professional basketball league, and professional athletes are exempt from the COVID rules that are in place right now,â she said.
“I spoke with the Deputy Minister of Sports earlier this week and was told nothing was stopping us.”
Tyler Currie, Ontario Deputy Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, could not be reached for comment before the deadline.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Monday announced the province would revert to a modified Stage 2 of the reopening plan, leading some to question whether NBLC teams would be able to open camps training this month. The confusion was caused by an elite Ontario government league list that does not include the NBLC. The reason for the omission, Kobe said, is that the roster was made in June 2020 and NBLC was out of season at the time.
The Elite Canadian Basketball League, which operates during the summer months and includes players from NBLC teams, made the initial roster along with the American Hockey League, Canadian Football League, Premier League Canada, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, NBA G League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, National Lacrosse League, National Women’s Hockey League, Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association and USL League 1.
“This list has not been updated since June 2020, and when I spoke with the Deputy Minister, I was told that they probably weren’t going to update it but everything is fine,” Kobe said.
The Titans will open training camp on Jan. 18, their first with Neal Foreman as their head coach, and that’s where business isn’t business as usual. The team practiced at RIM Park in Waterloo during its first four years of operation, but with that facility closed until at least January 27, Kobe made arrangements to practice at a facility it refused to appoint.
âI am more than excited. Our two assistant coaches arrive on Monday so it’s good to go, just a few dorms, âshe said. âAnd we’ve booked flights for the guys, and they’ll show up, and we’ll be in the field on the 18th, so it’s good to go.
To date, she added, seven players have signed contracts to attend the camp and several more deals are pending. Juwan Miller, from Kitchener, was among those who signed.