With the Ontario government tightening restrictions in three major urban areas because of COVID-19, we at the OMHA would like to remind our participants around the province we remain in what’s known as Stage 3B of the Return to Hockey Framework under strict COVID-19 safety protocols.
As you can tell by this video, when participants have been returning to play over the past month, hockey has had a much different look. It starts when they arrive at the rink and then when your children get on the ice.
Players are grouped into bubbles of 50. Teams are smaller. There are no faceoffs nor physical contact and fewer parents in the arena.
It says a lot about the love for this game and how much the children in this province missed it in the past few months that 80 per cent of registrants from last year are back. And if anybody has struggled to come back for any reason, we’re here to help.
Hockey might not look exactly the same as it did before the pandemic with physical distancing and other measures in place.
The silver lining is with smaller teams, the kids get more ice time and more chances to work on their skills. But the key for me is seeing the children no longer cooped up at home but rather getting a chance to be with their friends, and to learn the life skills that come with playing the game.
Some have asked me when we can get back to 5 on 5 hockey, tournaments and what is known as rep hockey. We understand the frustrations and uncertainty this pandemic has caused in your lives. Unfortunately, we don’t have all the answers.
What we do know is now and for the foreseeable future as long as we can play in a safe way, we will remain in Stage 3B of the Return to Hockey Framework.
In the middle of this global pandemic, our main focus is putting all of our participants safety first, being responsible and doing our part to help in the fight against COVID-19 in the province.
We are actively monitoring the situation and ready to respond to the latest direction and expert advice from the Ontario Government and Public Health Authorities.
We also continue to collaborate with the provincial sport governing body, the Ontario Hockey Federation, Hockey Canada and the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Cultural Industries on any adaptations to our programming.
Our minor hockey associations are also working closely with their local Public Health Units on any programming modifications in their areas.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we at the OMHA would like to thank all our participants for their continued support in these very trying times.
It’s not a perfect scenario but judging by the look on the players faces, being back on the ice is giving our children the kind of comfort they need right now in these extraordinary times.
For that, we have to be thankful. Please stay safe everyone!
Bob Hill - OMHA President
The Ontario Hockey Federation, in conjunction with their Members, have developed the following guides establishing Gameplay Rules for 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 Hockey.
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