KIMT NEWS 3 SPORTS – Businesses and sports teams alike are left wondering how to move forward with day-to-day operations during the latest dial-back in Minnesota. While teams like the Rochester Grizzlies and Austin Bruins are off to a strong start to the season, they won’t be able to play any home games for the next four weeks. Grizzlies head coach, Chris Ratzloff, says this season has been a lot like sitting on the edge of your seat.
“2020 is the year of adversity and adaptability so we kind of have to do what we have to do. So, every day is wake up and say, ‘well, what kind of challenge are we going to face today and how are we going to do it?”
If this year hasn’t already been challenging enough for sports teams, another wrench was thrown in the mix when Gov. Tim Walz declared that sports, among other amenities, must take a four-week pause. Sue Yost from Freeborn County Public Health explains why the break is necessary.
“They (the state) were seeing a lot of cases associated with sports activities – a lot of positive lab-confirmed cases. As a result of that, there’s a lot of quarantining that should be happening,” said Yost.
Collegiate and professional teams are exempt from the executive order. Since the Grizzlies and Bruins are part of an amateur sports league that is governed by a nationwide body, Gov. Walz can’t prohibit them from playing outside of state lines. However, facilities like the Rochester Recreation Center and Riverside Arena remain closed as part of the mandate which Coach Ratzloff says poses a unique challenge.
“We can’t practice so that’s the challenge right now and that’s why we’re looking at reassessing after Friday at Wausau,” he said. “Right now, it’s basically trying to get the guys outside, go for a run, or whatever they can do on their own to kind of stay in shape a little bit.”
Ratzloff says teams have done a great job making sure that arenas have been properly disinfected prior to each contest. Yost said she believes no matter where teams play they are at risk which is why Ratzloff says they are taking the matter seriously for their players and billet families.
“We don’t want to be carriers and bringing it back. The crazy thing is that when we went through our 14 days, I don’t believe any of the billets were infected by any of our players, so it’s kind of a thing that we don’t understand. We don’t understand how this is transmitted but that’s definitely on our minds.”
The Grizzlies are scheduled to play Friday night in Wausau while the Bruins will travel to Aberdeen for a Friday and Saturday matchup.