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HNL still working on how to conclude provincial bantam hockey championship

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Tournament was halted after players were exposed to carbon monoxide inside St. John’s rink

Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador says it should know within a few days how it will finish up competition in the 2019 provincial bantam AAA championship.

That tournament, being played at the Bussey Horwood Arena in St. John’s, was abruptly halted on Friday when a number of players, as well as others associated with the event, were exposed to high carbon monoxide levels inside the rink following a malfunction in the Zamboni ice-resurfacer.

Two games in the tournament were played Friday morning, but hours after conclusion of those contests, the St. John’s Regional Fire Department was called to the arena, at which time high carbon monoxide levels were detected.

HNL says the alert that led to the SJRD’s presence came after a safety person assigned to one of the teams identified concerns with air quality.

Remaining games for the day were cancelled and the four teams were notified of the situation.

By evening, dozens of hockey players, as well as parents and on-ice officials, were experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, with many seeking treatment in local hospitals.

Games early Saturday were cancelled, but later that day, three of the four participating teams — Tri-Pen, Western and Tricom — reported, according to an HNL release Monday, that “they had no concerning symptoms” and were willing to resume play at the Paradise Double Ice Complex, where ice time for the team had been arranged.

However, the fourth team — the St. John’s Hitmen — indicated it’s players were not ready to go back into action. Seventeen of the Hitmen players had gone the Janeway Hospital’s emergency department Friday, with 13 requiring treatment.

Hockey NL said it has advised teams they will only be scheduled to play “with their approval and good health.”

There are three games remaining in the competition to determine the Newfoundland representative for the 2019 Atlantic bantam AAA championship, April 4-7 in St. Margaret’s Bay, N.S.

In its Monday release, HNL said it expects a decision by the end of the week about how the provincial tourney will proceed.

One team that won’t be continuing in the tournament is Western, which saw its roster reduced to nine players, not because of the CO incident, but as a result of other injuries and suspensions. It withdrew from the tournament Sunday.

sports@thetelegram.com

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