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COVID-19 alert issued after kids Thanksgiving hockey tournament in Richmond

Hundreds of young hockey players from across B.C. took part in the event, including a South Delta team which was given the notice

One of the minor hockey teams competing in last weekend’s Thanksgiving tournament in Richmond has been issued a COVID-19 exposure notification.

South Delta Storm’s U11 team was issued the alert by Fraser Health on Monday, after the IceBreaker tournament – hosted by Richmond Jets – at Richmond Ice Centre.

According to the notice, team members are being asked to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 connected to games played on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 8 and 9.

The South Delta team played three games over the weekend, against teams from Port Moody, Penticton and Victoria.

The event – the 19th Annual International Richmond Jets U11 (Atom) And U13 (Peewee) Icebreaker Rep Tournament – attracted 40 teams, 720 players and many more parents and coaches from across the province.

Despite the event being held in Richmond, the area’s health authority, Vancouver Coastal (VCH), has not issued any COVID-19 exposure alerts.

And Fraser Health’s notice to the South Delta team was only made public after someone posted it earlier this week on the Facebook page “BC School Covid Tracker.”

On that page, a relative of one of the players on the Victoria team commented that her nephew got sick at school on Thursday and was sent home to isolate and test, along with multiple other kids on his team.

A spokesperson for Victoria Minor Hockey told the Richmond News' parent company Glacier Media that the association had not been notified of the exposure by any health authority, but noted that its team did not play South Delta on the days mentioned in the Fraser Health alert. 

The News asked both health authorities to explain why all teams at the tournament and, indeed, the tournament organizers – the Richmond Jets – were not made aware of the potential exposure.

A Fraser Health spokesperson told the News that, "every time there is a COVID-19 positive test in B.C., Public Health connects with anyone who may have come into contact with the case so they are aware and can be monitored for symptoms.

"We do not identify the specific location of confirmed cases unless Public Health cannot be certain they have reached all those who need to be contacted and who therefore might be a risk to the public."

While VCH told the News that it could not comment on specific cases in community settings due to "patient confidentiality," which it relies on "for our public health response, so people feel safe co-operating with our teams and don’t face stigma from the community."

The VCH spokesperson added that it only issues public notifications when it's "not able to reach all close contacts and determines it is necessary to inform the public about a potential exposure."

Another hockey parent on the page commented that the tournament organizers did a fantastic job with COVID-19 protocols, with mandatory vaccine passports and masks at entrances and exits.

Richmond Jets president Eric Bernal said he had not been notified of any potential exposure, but added that the club “worked closely with the City of Richmond and passports checks were in effect to gain access.

“There (was) also a limit on the number of spectators, masks (were) mandatory and traffic flow patterns (were) in place.”

The News has also reached out to the South Delta Minor Hockey Association for comment.

-With files from Alanna Kelly/Glacier Media