Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021
Convenor grateful for colleagues’ support of OFSAA event
Many hands make light work, and Craig Nodwell is grateful for all the hands that have helped him put together this year’s Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSAA) Boys’ AA volleyball championship.
Nodwell is a teacher-coach at Chippewa Secondary School and the convenor of the championship, being held tomorrow through Saturday in North Bay. COVID-19 caused the cancellation of last year’s championship (which was scheduled for North Bay) and the virus continues to affect day-to-day operations. Near North District School Board (NNDSB) and OFSAA have protocols that must be followed that caused modifications to typical OFSAA championships.
Nodwell says area secondary schools – even those located outside of North Bay – are making some sort of contribution to the championship. The tournament’s home team is Chippewa, but the principal of West Ferris Secondary School offered gyms for games to be held, the principal of F.J. McElligott Secondary School in Mattawa provided two staff members to act as convenors to run two of the gyms, staff at Northern Secondary School in Sturgeon Falls convened the Nipissing District Athletics (NDA) league this year, which provided a direct route to hosting OFSAA and a staff member at Laurentian Learning Centre was released to help with photography and media projects for the championships.
The executive team at NNDSB has been supportive of Nodwell’s efforts, the COVID-19 management team has guided him in the processes to safely run the tournament and some students are getting optional certifications towards their Specialist High Skills Majors.
“There are so many cool, collaborative projects at Near North,” says Nodwell.
Students have missed out on organized sports for almost two years. Nodwell says there are five students on Chippewa’s team who returned for a fifth year at secondary school just to play volleyball and “it meant a lot to finish their athletic careers on the right note (by participating in a provincial tournament).” Despite the challenges caused by COVID-19, as a convenor and coach, Nodwell wants to put on “the best championship we can…I want it to be a show for these student athletes.”
NNDSB’s Director of Education, Craig Myles, says “As a life-long athlete, coach and teacher, I am so encouraged to see the return of sporting competitions. OFSAA is the pinnacle of sports in Ontario secondary schools. My hope is that these opportunities for students will continue to resurface as we navigate through the changing COVID-19 environment.”
The COVID-19 protocols caused the cancellation of the usual banquet, but the committee has created a red-carpet registration night featuring semi-formal attire, swag bags and team photos. Student volunteers are helping out to welcome teams to the city and the school.
The championship will feature team and player introductions, and there will be signage around the facilities to acknowledge the achievement of the visiting teams.
Fans will be absent from the championship because of the protocols of both NNDSB and OFSAA, but games will be streamed. YourTV will broadcast the quarter-final and semi-final games from Chippewa, and Sunday’s championship final at 1 p.m.
Nodwell notes that the stringent protocols are in place to keep everyone safe and following them means that student athletes are able to play and compete.
“The health and safety of our staff and students is paramount,” says Myles, “so I would like to recognize everyone who is going above and beyond to organize these events for students amidst the health and safety considerations, with a special thanks to Craig Nodwell. Best of luck to the athletes!”
Visit OFSAA’s page for more information about the championship, including the schedule.
For more information, please contact:
Near North District School Board
P. (705) 472-8170, extension 5010