Portage College teams will be taking a full-year off due to COVID-19. The College announced on Friday that its athletics program will be taking a leave of absence from Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference (ACAC) competition in Men’s Hockey, Men’s & Women’s Soccer, Men’s & Women’s Futsal, Golf and Curling for the 2020/2021 season. Portage has sent a formal application requesting manifest hardship for the season. This also means that there will be no athletic scholarships awarded to student athletes for the 2020-21 academic year. The College will also request that the new agreement with the Lac La Biche County for sponsorship of the Athletics Program start in 2021/2022 instead of 2020/2021.
“Portage looked at all options and feel this is the safest for our College, community, staff, and most importantly our students and student-athletes,” said Nate Bedford, Athletic Director and Voyageur Head Coach of Portage College. “Making the announcement at this time will give student-athletes the best opportunity to make alternate arrangements as they see fit. Portage College Athletics has been doing an excellent job recruiting and planning for the upcoming season. We anticipate student-athletes will be extremely disappointed. However, we feel we are looking after their best interests and safety at this time. We do not take this decision lightly.”
Athletic scholarships will not be awarded for the 2020/2021 academic year but will be post-dated. If already-recruited student-athletes decide to play for Portage in 2021/2022 they will receive the scholarships they were offered for the 2020/2021 season. The College will continue to provide support for student-athletes for their educational and athletic planning.
In addition to suspending play for 2020/2021, the College will ask Lac La Biche County to push back the start of a new three-year funding agreement to 2021/2022. The sponsorship agreement requires student-athletes to be ambassadors in the community and is built around an entire academic year which cannot be fulfilled due to COVID-19.
“Lac La Biche County has been an excellent partner and supporter of the College,” said Bedford. “Portage wants to be a good partner and realize we cannot fulfill our contributions as expected during this pandemic. We hope that we’ll be able to come back strong in 2021/2022 and work closely with the athletes and communities that we love.”
Jaime Davies, Corporate Communications Manager
780-623-5581 or email