Expectations for the 2020-21 Hockey Season, News (Napanee District Minor Hockey)

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Expectations for the 2020-21 Hockey Season
Submitted By Dan Dowling on Thursday, August 20, 2020
Introduction

The global pandemic of Covid-19 has had a profound impact on life in Canada. While we would all like life to return to normal, we are clearly not at that point yet.

The NDMH Executive is working on a plan for a safe return to on-ice activity for our members for the 2020-21 season, in cooperation with our home facility of the Strathcona Paper Centre, in compliance with current KFL&A health expectations and in compliance with Hockey Canada, OHF, and OMHA guidelines. As we know, the coming school year will look very different for students. Similarly we must also recognize that the coming hockey season will look very different for players, and the focus will be on engagement, development and skills. 



It will be important for parents and players to be flexible in their thinking and in their expectations this season, more than any other, as we do not expect at this point we will be able to offer a “typical” hockey experience. The focus will be on returning to the ice safely, retaining engagement and developing skills for the 2021-22 season. The return to a typical hockey season will take time and patience.




What Will Hockey Look Like? 


1. Players will be rostered to teams (9 skaters, 1 goalie, 1 coach, 1 trainer).

2. It is unlikely at this time that there will be travel this season. It is possible that restrictions could lessen as the season progresses, but we are not pinning our hopes on this.

3. We are planning on beginning on-ice activities the week of September 21, 2020. This will allow families to monitor how back-to-school is going before adding hockey to the mix. We plan on offering each group two, 50 minute ice sessions per week.

4. We are going to offer a monthly payment plan from September through February at a cost of $100 per player (novice through midget / U7-U18). In the event that the ‘season’ needs to be halted due to a health emergency, payments will also be stopped / reimbursements issued as required. Initiation players will pay a fee of $350 for the season. The IP groups will be smaller this year to be in compliance with the required numbers. While this is not a typical season, we still have to cover the cost of the ice that we use along with our administrative fees.

5. Typical fall processes, such as tryouts, Non-Resident Player forms, Permission to Skate forms, etc., are not applicable. Any NRP players from the 2019-20 season may choose to return to NDMH for the 2020-21 season.

6. On-ice officials / time-keepers will not be a part of our initial return to on-ice activities.

7. There are limits of how many individuals can be on the ice (22 max) and in the dressing rooms (11 max). This is an excellent time for younger players to practice tying their skates. Masks are required in dressing rooms until it is time to put on helmets. “Two-deep” supervision is still required.

8. Focus of programming will be on skill development and small game scenarios as outlined by the Ontario Hockey Federation.

9. There will be no body checking in play / drills.

10. Parents will play a critical role in the safe return to on-ice activity. If players are unwell, they must not come to play. Families will be required to complete a health screening prior to each on-ice activity, along with submitting contact information required for contact tracing.

11. There will be a virtual ‘town hall’ meeting for parents on September 14, 2020 for any questions you may have. More information to follow.

12. NDMH teams cannot participate in private hockey tournaments. Currently, OMHA is not sanctioning tournaments.

13. Teams will be grouped with players at comparable skill levels.



Volunteers


We will need coaches and trainers who are willing to think creatively and with long term goals in mind. If you are willing to help coordinate at the divisional levels (e.g., you’re a team manager and you are now out of work), please let us know! If you are willing to be involved, please reach out to any member of the Executive.



Conclusion


As the year 2020 has been a year unlike any other, so too will this hockey season be. Please begin to talk with your hockey player about what they can expect for the upcoming season. While it’s disappointing that we don’t have a full return to play, we are excited about the opportunity to return to the ice. In the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer, these changes are “not forever but just for now.”
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