Weather delays PowderPuff start

(Photo by Jody Waardenburg)
(Photo by Jody Waardenburg)

There has come a day where even PowderPuff can’t handle the snow.

After last weekend’s snowstorm, the annual charity women’s flag-football tournament was cancelled. The storm brought approximately 25 centimetres of precipitation and forced WLU facilities to close Friday.

Laurier had already hosted its local tournament two weeks prior, and was hoping to accommodate a larger Ontario-wide tournament this past weekend.

“I saw the news reports but I didn’t really believe it,” said Andrew Barbati, president of Laurier Lettermen. “We thought it was just blown out of proportion, just like most [weather warnings] are.”

Laurier Lettermen, the organization that coordinates the PowderPuff tournament, was not expecting the severe weather conditions. They admitted to taking a “gamble” when considering the amount of snow Waterloo would get.

The tournament was scheduled to run from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9. It would have included 28 flag football teams from universities in the province.

“I woke up around 6:30 a.m. with my phone ringing to Ryan Lannan,” Barbati explained, walking through Friday’s events.

Lannan, the coordinator of Laurier’s athletic facilities, told Barbati that the school had made the decision to close all facilities. This included the University Stadium, which was the only venue for the PowderPuff tournament.

“He called me and said: ‘time to figure out what you’re going to do,’” Barbati laughed.

Barbati met with Drew Galpin, another executive coordinator and a veteran of the football team. The two were hoping to move the tournament to Alumni Field, but due to insurance liabilities, this option was out of the question.

“At that point we said, ‘there’s no use for anybody getting hurt,’” Barbati said. “We might as well call it off before anyone gets on the road.”

A team from Ottawa had already been on the road since 5 a.m. trying to make their 7 p.m. game time. Other teams coming from Kingston and Sault Ste. Marie were unable to travel.

“We got the worst amount of snow,” Barbati said. “No matter how bad it was or where people were, it was just going to get worse by the time they got here.”

According to Lettermen, most out-of-town teams understood the decision to postpone the tournament.

However, some teams ran into issues regarding hotel deposits and cancellations.

A team from Nippissing ended up losing their deposit on their hotel, which was almost half the money they had raised.

“I felt really bad about that,” Barbati said.

“We’re going to try and figure out something to help them out. That is something we hoped wouldn’t happen.”

Depending on the availability of the University Stadium, the tournament will resume either the March 1 or March 8 weekend.

Teams who have already played a Thursday night game will get to keep their record going into the rescheduled tournament.

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