HMHA is working on a plan for the upcoming season. In an effort to keep everyone safe, hockey is going to look different in Ontario until the COVID 19 situation improves.
We will have smaller team sizes and will need more coaches, trainers and managers as a result. Please volunteer to help us bring some hockey back for our players. We also need executive members to make this season happen.
Check your coach certifications. If you are going to expire on August 31st (as most are), please get recertified before then so that you can help our players. OMHA will NOT be extending certifications.
Thank you to everyone who has signed your player up through our Preliminary Registration to give us an idea of numbers and to give us data for requesting ice hours with the Town of Huntsville - this information is very important for our planning. If you haven't filled in the form yet for a player who would like to play, please do so ASAP.
We have had a huge response to this Preliminary Registration, which tells us that there are lots of kids out there that want to get back on the ice and get some hockey back in their routine. This will not be a normal year by any means and we will need more volunteers than ever to bring our players programming - please help us make this work!
As we still have been unable to schedule an in-person AGM, we are working on getting a Virtual AGM set up. The focus of this meeting will be to wrap up the 2019-2020 season and to elect a new executive for the upcoming season. Initially, when the AGM was set for April, we had several holes in the nominations for our board. We will soon be posting AGM details and reposting the information regarding nominations and job descriptions. If we do not have enough board members to fill positions, we will be in danger of not running some programming. Notably, there were no nominations for Ice Scheduler, Registrar, Local League Directors U7-U11 and U13-U18 and OMHA Contact. Without the backbone of an executive, making this season work will be virtually impossible. Please give some consideration to where you can help, the kids are depending on it.
HMHA will also be hosting a separate Virtual meeting in the near future to discuss what the upcoming season will look like and to try and answer any questions you may have. Last week there were new details provided from OHF regarding the framework of hockey in Ontario for this season. Additionally, we continue to work with Town of Huntsville Staff regarding a Return to Play Framework. The topic of ice installation at the Summit Centre is on the Agenda at the August 24th Council Meeting - information regarding timing and ice availability will further help us in our season planning.
There will be more information coming regarding what the season will look like as well as what the new procedures at the Summit Centre will entail both on our website and in the Virtual meeting to discuss. Team sizes will be smaller (maximum of 10), meaning 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 hockey, played within Division Bubbles of 50, with no contact, with teams only playing other teams within the same Health Unit to begin. There will be a progression of changes within Stage 3, with the return to more "normal" 5 on 5 hockey once we move to Stage 4. The season specific details are still being worked on and will be shared in a timely manner, we appreciate your patience.
With teams of 10, this means we will need more bench staff than normal. Please consider volunteering for one of these roles. Coaches, please check your qualifications and if your certification is going to expire on August 31st, please get recertified - once you expire it will be too late and due to COVID 19, new certification clinics are not being scheduled currently. See the article below titled: "Coaches-Recertification for all levels needed for this season" for details regarding how you can renew your certification. The link to fill out a Coaching Application Form is still open under the "Coaches Corner" section of this website - all coaches, please fill in a form and let us know you are willing to volunteer this season. Trainers - if you need to recertify, you can can do the online Refresher course (which is shorter) as long as you do this before you expire. If you have expired or are a new Trainer, you will need to take the full online course. All bench staff members (including Managers) are required to have completed Gender Identity & Expression and Respect In Sport/Activity Leader - both these courses are offered online and do not expire. All volunteers will be required to have a Vulnerable Sector Check (information regarding this will be updated on our website). HMHA will reimburse any (re)certification costs for our volunteers.
As you can see, getting ready for this season is not as straight forward as it has been in past years. However, we believe our kids are worth it! With hockey, school, all sports activities, social activities and virtually all of what is familiar for our young people's day to day lives, abruptly coming to a halt in March, there has been a huge void in everyone's lives. HMHA would like to help fill some of that void for our players and bring them back some hockey. We are working hard to accomplish this. Please help us be successful by volunteering and by supporting those who are giving their time to make this work.
Once a more specific framework is determined, allowing us to come up with a season budget, we will be opening up regular Registration on this website through Hockey Canada. The timeline to get officially registered (you will not automatically be registered because you filled in our Preliminary Registration Form) will be short and we will need everyone to sign up quickly so we can get the kids on the ice (insurance is tied to HC registration and no players can skate without it).
All HMHA information will be shared on this website. Please make sure you check it regularly and sign up for Alerts (available to text or email) on the bottom left corner of this webpage so that you don't miss anything. As plans are finalized, things will move quickly and timelines to respond will be much shorter than normal. If you know of someone who is new to hockey or who doesn't follow the website currently, please share this information. Attempting to individually email families is not an efficient way to share information for several reasons, including i.e. we don't always have the preferred or current email address (family dynamics and email addresses change) and we don't have email addresses for families new to hockey or new to the area. Sharing information via other venues is also difficult as there are numerous ways people receive their news and it is difficult and sometimes costly to try and cover all of these (i.e. various radio stations, printed news, online news publications, social media portals etc.). However, virtually everyone has a means to click on our website or sign up to receive alerts, which ensures information is not missed.
I hope you are all having a safe and healthy summer!
Kelly Farnsworth - HMHA President/OMHA Contact