Air quality concerns cancel Men’s Soccer openers in Prince George

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Cancellation follows new Canada West policy prohibiting games played in unsafe smoke conditions

Bobby Eng of the Vikes toes the line in a match versus the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club, Feb. 16, 2014, at Centennial Stadium. –Brandon Everell (photo)

As wildfire smoke continues to blanket the skies of the Pacific Northwest, the UVic Men’s Soccer team have postponed their first two regular season matches against the UNBC Timberwolves in Prince George due to concerns with air quality.

The Vikes and Timberwolves made the decision on Thursday morning, as Prince George’s Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) was rated at 10+: deemed “very high risk.”

The games, which were set to be played on Friday and Saturday, will be played at a later date.

Earlier this week, Canada West Universities Athletic Association (the organization in charge of varsity sports on the west coast of Canada) approved a policy which recommends that matches shouldn’t be played if the AQHI rating is seven or higher.

There are no varsity games this upcoming weekend at UVic: the first is on Sept. 1.

Ali Baggott, Vikes Communications Officer, says that conditions should be good enough by then for play to go ahead.

“Today, for example, there would be no concern, because the risk was way down to two this morning,” Baggott said. “But of course day-to-day we can’t control the weather. Basically, whatever is deemed safe or unsafe for the players is the top priority.”