It is hard to believe we are already into the month of December and our season is approaching the halfway point. Throughout this pandemic we’ve all had to work together to get back to hockey as it has been in the past. We missed the game just as much as you did and have been happy to see all of the smiling faces on the ice. Even during these times, it has been truly amazing to see our teams organizing ways to give back to their communities through food drives and other holiday initiatives.
As COVID-19 cases rise again across the province, I wanted to remind everyone of the importance of following the safety measures in place. This includes properly wearing a mask, providing proof of vaccination before entry, and staying home if you are feeling unwell.
As you know, when the season began, the OMHA Board of Directors announced we were implementing a vaccine mandate for all OMHA participants age 12 and up. We thank everyone for following the OMHA vaccine mandate for our players on the ice. Since that time, Health Canada has approved a vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old. We have been asked if the OMHA will change our vaccine policy in light of the approval of a vaccine for younger children. The OMHA Board does not anticipate making any changes to our current policy mid-season due to the major disruptions it would cause.
We strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated, where possible, and to consider everything you can do for yourself, your families and your communities.
Our goal coming into the season was to keep our participants as safe as possible and return to as much of ‘normal’ hockey as was allowed. Our protocols have limited the number of shutdowns among our teams thus far. Teams are being transparent in their reporting of cases and following the correct safety procedures. We’ve done a good job so far and want to continue to do so for the remainder of the hockey season.
Some areas have begun to reintroduce capacity limits for facilities and other safety measures. We continue to follow the direction of Public Health Units and Municipalities, and their guidelines put in place within each rink to determine any next steps we may have.
I want to thank all of the volunteers who have put in the effort throughout this season to ensure our players can safely stay on the ice. On top of your normal workload, this year has added many new elements in a short amount of time to get players and team officials registered, games scheduled and tournaments running again.
Over the holiday break I encourage everyone to safely spend time with their families and loved ones. We will continue to stay diligent with the most recent updates we are provided and communicate them with our Associations, players, coaches and participants.
Have a Happy Holiday.
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