Algonquin College athletes look forward to returning to sports in the near future. Photo credit: Connor Black

Liam Hickey, a student at Algonquin College and a guard on the Algonquin Thunder men’s basketball team, is excited to return to basketball for the Thunder.

Before the lockdown, he was on campus from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekdays and at 8 a.m. on Saturdays.

“Working on my shot, working on my game. Trying to stay active,” Hickey said. “I think all the guys are hungry and we want to just get back in the gym.”

Hickey also continuously keeps in touch with his fellow teammates.

“I keep in contact with pretty much all the guys. We have a group chat on social media so we keep in contact pretty much every day,” said Hickey.

The Algonquin Thunder have now been off the fields and courts for 10 long months, with the last game having been on Mar. 8, 2020, when the college women’s basketball team played their last game.

With Ontario Colleges Athletic Association’s (OCAA) varsity program shut down for the foreseeable future, many college coaches and athletes have been left without access to fields, courts and gyms to hone their skills through coaching and playing their respective sports.

“Coaches have always had their mind on the sport,” said Ian Campbell, the athletics communication and events coordinator at Algonquin College. “It is what they love and it is always running through their minds.”

When the Thunder does get the green light from the OCAA to get back unto the fields, courts and gyms, Campbell says, “it will be a scramble for all the OCAA teams, not just the Thunder.”

However, the Thunder has a lot to look forward to in the near future. The ARC, Athletics and Recreation Centre, is scheduled to open at the end of August 2021, which offers a fitness zone, fitness classes amongst other training facilities.

But for now, Algonquin’s athletes are keen to get back to the game.

“We’re excited to get in there and get back to work,” said Hickey. “We’re also looking forward to being the first team playing in that gym.”

“Some will be a bit tentative about it all,” said Campbell. “There will be some of the athletes chomping at the bit to get back to doing what they love most.”