Montreal Impact not ruling out leaving province to commence training

Montreal Impact not ruling out leaving province to commence training

MONTREAL — If the MLS decides to resume its suspended season, Montreal Impact players may have to leave the province to train if they aren’t permitted to practice on the outdoor pitch of the Nutrilait Centre.

It’s one scenario put forth by team president Kevin Gilmore during a recent telephone interview with The Canadian Press.

Gilmore said the Impact are one of six teams whose players aren’t permitted to partake in individual training sessions due to strict public health rules, despite guidelines put forth by the league on May 1 and which came into effect five days later.

Two other Canadian teams — Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps — have resumed training.

The league protocols stipulate that grounds must be divided into four squares of equal size that only one player at a time can use to respect physical distancing measures.

Players are required to take turns arriving on the field, wearing a mask when entering and leaving the pitch, and undergoing a body temperature test upon arrival at the facility.

However, Gilmore said the Impact were refused a request to open its training facility by the city’s regional health authority on May 7, and authorities have not budged since then.

Meanwhile, rumours started to circulate in recent days that the MLS could resume its season this summer, with all teams playing out of Orlando without any spectators present.

Gilmore wouldn’t discuss the rumours, saying the situation is constantly evolving. But the soccer club’s president said while he’s concerned with the health and safety of his players, he’s also worried about the preparation of his team on a competitive level.

“If we do come back and you come to the common site and you haven’t trained individually or even in small groups yet, you’re at a disadvantage,” Gilmore said.

“Honestly, we will have to start looking, maybe, to take the team, get out of town and go to train elsewhere … we will have no choice,” Gilmore said. “It’s not as if athletes of this level can prepare to return to play overnight.”

Gilmore said they’ve even checked with clubs in other markets to see whether it would be possible to accommodate the Impact.

The club’s inability to hold individual workouts at their training facility has proven costly, with the club announcing Wednesday that midfielder Steeven Saba will be sidelined eight to 12 weeks after breaking his left foot ‘on a routine jog” near his home in Montreal.

“It is guaranteed that he does not break his foot while running at the Nutrilait Center,” Gilmore said of Saba, a 27-year-old Haitian international who joined Montreal after attending the 2020 training camp as a trialist.

Provincial health authorities allowed certain outdoor activities to resume this week, for recreational purposes, notably golf and tennis.

The province also announced this week it will allow gatherings of 10 people or less from three households to gather outdoors, while keeping with physical distancing measures.

Gilmore is of the opinion that MLS-proposed measures meet the province’s five criteria for allowing certain activities to resume outlined by Isabelle Charest, a former Olympic athlete and the province’s junior education minister.

Charest said the province is working with federations to adapt different sports to meet COVID-19 public health guidelines and discussions are ongoing to allow certain professional sports and amateur athletes to get back to training again.

MLS suspended play March 12, two weeks into the season, due to the pandemic. Each club had played two games.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2020.

Michel Lamarche, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo)
Alberta records 410 COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Shaun Isaac, owner of Woodchucker Firewood in Trochu, is awaiting a new shipment during a firewood shortage in the province. All of the wood he has left is being saved for long-time customers who need it to heat their homes. (Contributed photo).
Firewood shortage in central Alberta caused by rising demand, gaps in supply

‘I’ve said “No” to more people than ever’: firewood seller

file photo
Maskwacis RCMP investigate pedestrian fatality

Collision on Highway 2A causing fatality still under investigation.

Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer
City of Wetaskiwin cases rapidly climbing

City of Wetaskiwin reporting 11 active cases of COVID-19

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

The energy regulator says environmental contractors are at the site

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Sharon Hickin, general manager of the Days Inn Sylvan Lake and the new Lake House Diner, poses for a photo outside the new restaurant. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Pandemic puts extra hurdles in place for new Sylvan Lake businesses

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic

Rachel Notley, leader of Alberta’s official Opposition, speaks in Edmonton on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Notley says the government needs to sharply ramp up the number of contact tracers if it wants to get a handle on the rising number of COVID-19 cases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Opposition calls for more COVID-19 contact tracers as case numbers rise

Alberta has about 800 tracers, and chief medical health officer Dr. Hinshaw says more are being recruited

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. Hospital and health-care workers who staged a one-day illegal walkout returned to work Tuesday while politicians swapped recriminations and accusations in the house over the dispute. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta health staff return to work, surgeries resume after one-day walkout

AHS estimated 157 non-emergency surgeries, most of them in Edmonton, had to be postponed as a result of the walkout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Cases in Ponoka (East Ponoka County) as of Oct. 27. (
Diagnosed cases of COVID-19 at three Ponoka businesses

Town ‘strongly encouraging’ residents to wear non-medical masks in public

Most Read