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Kicking Off Our Return to the Rink

By Aaron Wilbur, The Coaches Site, 09/14/21, 3:00PM EDT


Highlighting some of the new elements this season

We’ve finally hit the days on the calendar we’ve had circled for months - hockey is back! We’re excited as ever to come back to the rink and get back to the game we love. While we are still taking precautions off the ice such as masking as physical distancing in the dressing room, on the ice we are returning to traditional five on five gameplay. It’s been a busy summer planning for this moment and the first episode of this season on Breakaway, the minor hockey podcast catches up with OMHA Executive Director and co-host Ian Taylor.

Significant changes entering this season include more players on the ice and bench area as well as larger capacity limits for spectators. Many Associations at this time are preparing for tryouts when they typically took place in the spring instead of fall.

“Everyone is going to be playing meaningful hockey until March 1. Teams aren’t going to be eliminated in February,” said Taylor. “A big pet peeve of mine was living in Canada and there’s still snow on the ground and you’re not playing hockey… That’s a massive change for us for this year, extending the season and using the mantra of ‘more playing for longer’.”

The changes to the playoffs format including the removal of individual style series, instead reducing travel and time by creating OMHA Championship weekends. More teams will have the experience of competing in a Final and the number of players who reach this milestone will increase.

Last season we grew an extra appreciation for the simple ability to be on the ice. With a focus on the social elements and mental health aspects of the game, we come into this year with a new sense of joy and understanding of the reprieve that hockey can provide away from our day to day lives.

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Aaron is the Founder and CEO of The Coaches Site, the #1 online resource for hockey coaches, and also the host of the Glass & Out podcast. He is married with two boys, believes Major League is the best sports movie of all-time, is scared of heights and is mildly obsessed with the Alabama Crimson Tide football program.

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