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Water Polo Canada to host Open National Championships in 2021

(October 26, 2020 – Ottawa, ON) – Water Polo Canada (WPC) announced earlier today that the National Championship League (NCL) would be transitioning to a series of Open National Championship events rather than the traditional league model for the 2021 season, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WPC is committed to hosting competitions for its athletes in 2021. While understanding the continuing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, WPC considers these Open Championship events to be the most viable path to achieving the goal of hosting domestic championships in 2021. The traditional league format which necessitated the playing of many competitions across multiple provinces and over several months, was fraught with significant public health and logistical challenges that were unlikely to be overcome successfully. This single-event format will allow WPC to focus its resources on a small number of tournaments to provide the greatest possibility of hosting the 2021 Open Championship events, while also respecting the return to play guidelines across the country.

Although WPC feels that this transition is best for the 2021 season, WPC does plan to return to the regular NCL format next fall for the 2021-2022 season.

Water Polo Canada's objective is to host the following events between May and July 2021:

  • Senior National Championship
  • 19U National Championship
  • 17U National Championship
  • 15U Western National Championship
  • 15U Eastern National Championship

"The safety of our athletes, coaches, referees and all those involved is our utmost priority. We are committed to hosting safe and successful events while respecting the integrity of our sport. At this time, we feel that the Open Championships represent the most responsible avenue for the NCL in 2021," indicated Martin Goulet, Water Polo Canada's Executive Director.

In addition to the Open Championships, WPC is also working towards solution-driven strategies to help the growth of water polo during these trying times and for the future. WPC is using the restrictions as an opportunity to focus on regionalized competition in conjunction with the PSOs. By investing in a regionalized model, WPC hopes to build the appropriate infrastructure for each region while following the different provinces' guidelines to allow for growth in our current environment.

"With the high level of uncertainty and the competitions being much more challenging, our members are facing a shift in their typical day to day training. Through the Regional Development Centres and clubs, Water Polo Canada is currently developing strategies to engage our membership and hopefully break up the day to day monotony of our training realities," said Andrew Muir, Water Polo Canada's Pathway Manager.

WPC continues to work with its partners to provide creative solutions to our members, including updates to the Club Assistance Program (CAP), in order to help Canadian clubs who continue to face the many challenges encountered by the ever-changing dynamics of COVID-19. More details on the 2020-2021 CAP guidelines will be available tomorrow.

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