BFA Winter Sports in the Balance


BFA getting ready for their big game against Rice (Dec. 14, 2019). Photo credit by: Brian Jenkins

Matthew Gonyeau, Contributor

Saint Albans is a well-known town when it comes to their winter sports, but with the Vermont Covid-19 cases rising, will there even be a winter sports season? According to, “[Gov.] Scott said the decision to keep sports on hold will be reevaluated next week, as it has been since the initial announcement to suspend activities last month due to Vermont’s current climate with coronavirus cases.¨

Multiple BFA student athletes shared their thoughts on what they think playing will be like if they get to resume their sports, such as Calla Bourdeau (´22), who plays BFA varsity hockey, Camden Piper (´22), who plays BFA varsity hockey and Joey Nachaczewski (’22), who plays BFA JV basketball.

When asked about how the restrictions would affect hockey, Piper said, “It will definitely make our typical practices and team events more difficult and limited.” Piper added, “So skills won’t be as good this year.”

The BFA varsity team is coming off of a championship season, where they were the second seed entering the playoffs and defeated the fourth-seeded Stowe team to win their 19th championship since the BFA program started. Part of that championship season was due to the team’s work ethic in the weight room. 

Last year, according to Piper, the varsity team worked out in the weight room every week and then sent their coaches a text/email about the workouts that they did. This year, there is an option to do so, but the workouts are not mandatory. Not maintaining good physical conditioning could affect how well the team performs this year. 

According to the Burlington Free Press, the 2019 – 2020 seven-seeded BFA basketball varsity team lost in the first round of the playoffs last year by the tenth-seeded Burr and Burton team 67-58. Although the BFA team did not do as well as they wanted, the team has high expectations for themselves for this year.  

Nachaczewski hopes to help the Varsity team win a championship for this year. Those goals have been harder to reach due to the Covid pandemic. When asked about how his basketball season would look right now with the amount of Covid cases rising in Vermont, Nachaczewski said, “Right now they [Gov. Scott] pushed the season back, and I believe they’re going to keep doing that if the cases get worse.” Nachaczewski added, “I hope that’s not the case.” 

According to the VTDigger, in the past two weeks, of every 10,000 people in Franklin County, 86 people have gotten a confirmed case of Covid-19.  There has also been 18 deaths in Franklin County, due to Covid-19, in the last two weeks. With the holidays coming, the number of Covid cases are predicted to only rise due to people traveling for the holidays.  

Bourdeau has been a part of the Varsity Comet hockey team for the past two years. As a freshman, she was on the 2019 Comet team that went all the way to the finals but fell short to the Essex team, losing 2-0, and then just came short of making it to the finals again in 2020, losing 3-2 in the semifinals to the Essex team again. Returning as a junior this year, she still hopes to win a championship for Saint Albans. 

“Having spectators at our hockey games is important because it really gets us excited and motivated,” Bourdeau said. “With Covid, there will be no spectators allowed at all.” BFA hockey is very popular in Saint Albans and, according to Bourdeau, this is why not having fans in the stands/bleachers will affect the adrenaline and feel of the game for the players. 

Bourdeau also said, “Comet hockey is known for being a close-knit group of individuals, and that’s thanks to the team-bonding exercises that our coaches put us through.” Bourdeau added, “Our locker room time will be seriously limited, which could affect our unity.”

A BFA team is like a blanket; each member of the team is a string that holds the blanket together. At first, one string is weak, but when all of the strings are woven together, it becomes strong and close. However, that strength could be broken because of the COVID – 19 pandemic. The teams’ chemistries will be put to the test. We will have to wait and see how this impacts the winter season and BFA’s teams.