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Teens at Sask. hockey tournament fall ill after carbon monoxide leak

Multiple players at a youth hockey tournament in Saskatchewan experienced serious symptoms due to an undetected carbon monoxide leak over the weekend.

On Sunday, Shaun Fleming said "a bunch" of boys on his son's team fell ill at the under-15 tournament in Wakaw, a small community roughly 100 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

"So headaches, lightheaded, nauseous, and these are kids that are wanting to be on the ice all the time and they were wanting to not be on the ice. Some kids even vomiting on the benches there," Fleming said.

"We started wondering if there was something we ate, (because) we went to restaurants together," he said.

It wasn't until after the tournament that Fleming discovered his son's team wasn't alone.

"We weren't the only team that was affected, it was happening to multiple teams. They were passing out Advil and Tylenol like it was candy."

Wakaw mayor Michael Markowski said SaskEnergy, the province's government-owned gas supplier, was called in the following day to investigate after the town became aware of the player's symptoms.

"There were deficiencies detected with two furnaces, so the arena was shut down and inspected for further issues," Markowski said, adding that the furnaces will be replaced.

"It was an unfortunate event and some kids did get sick at the arena or were reporting signs of sickness at the rink. But to our knowledge, nobody's in the hospital and we are working with the health authority just to make sure."

After the gas leak was discovered, Fleming said the tournament committee instructed parents to contact SaskEnergy and the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

"To be aware of what to do for the kids to make sure that they're okay," Fleming said.

He said spectators or even coaches weren't affected by the leak because of where the faulty furnaces were located.

"The players were in the dressing room all the time that was beside the furnace room, while they're at the age where the parents and coaches aren't in the dressing rooms anymore," Fleming said.

"It's just something for coaches and parents to be aware of. This wasn't something we thought about at all. We were thinking 'virus' or 'food poisoning' — (it wasn't) until we heard that it was multiple teams that this was on the radar ... This is something that should be on everyone's mind."

--With files from John Flatters and Katy Syrota Top Stories

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