We know our families have many questions regarding hockey for the upcoming season.
Please feel confident that any updates will be posted to our website and this is where you should look for information. Now, more than ever it is important to sign up for website alerts and to check the website regularly for up-to-date information.
The following provides some highlights regarding where we are currently at regarding Minor Hockey and the 2020-2021 season.
Firstly, I would like to thank our families for your patience and support during this unprecedented time we have all found ourselves in.
Due to regulations and parameters from our Provincial Government, Public Health Unit and all of our governing hockey bodies, there are countless details we need to take into account with our season programming/planning. In addition, changes happen very frequently dependent on the current factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To make our programming work this season, we will need more coaches, trainers and managers as teams will be limited to 10 players while we are in Stage 3, so we will have more teams than we normally would. It is worth noting, that one coach and one trainer is the minimum per team - if benches are used during games, only two bench staff are permitted to be physically on the bench at any time; also, teams are smaller than normal, so it may be possible to run teams with less coaches per team than would normally be needed (i.e. last season where a team may have had two coaches, each one of them could potentially take a team of 10 while we are in Stage 3). As well, division convenors will play an important role in keeping information flowing to our teams and families. Additionally, our executive board members will play a key role in making hockey possible this season. Please give some thought to how you can help make this season the best we can for all our players - they are truly worth it! All training for coaches, trainers and managers can be completed online this year. If you have any questions about getting certified, please reach out to Odette Daniel, HMHA Development Director, through this website for assistance.
We are currently in Stage 3 of the pandemic as per our Provincial Government. As far as hockey is concerned, Stage 3 is divided into Stage 3a-3e for all hockey leagues and associations who fall under the Ontario Hockey Federation, with some minimal changes happening between the 5 levels. For hockey purposes, we are currently in Stage 3b. As long as we are in Stage 3, hockey will look much different than what it would in a typical year. Once we move to Stage 4, hockey will look much more normal. We do not know when we will advance to Stage 4. If Stage 4 happens within the season, the plan is for us to move into a more normal format, along with a condensed season and playoffs (the specifics are dependent on when Stage 4 begins).
Some Key Points Regarding Our Stage 3 Hockey:
-we are unable to ice U4/Preschool teams at this time due to the necessity of close contact needed while on the ice with our newest skaters - we regret this and will make adjustments once it is deemed safe for non-socially distanced contact to resume
-team size is limited to 10 players
-there is a limit of 30 on the ice, including players, bench staff and officials
-League Maximum is 50 players, meaning there can be a maximum of 5 teams of 10 players that are permitted to play within a "Bubble" - for practices and for games
-Goalies can be shared within a "Bubble"
-League Bubbles can only be within our own Public Health Unit (Simcoe Muskoka)
-within MPS, the only teams in our Health Unit are South Muskoka Bears and Muskoka Rock - we are exploring the possibility of potentially creating bubbles where appropriate with our own HMHA teams and the other two associations within our health unit
-we are looking at the possibility of tiering teams as well as creating balanced teams within each tier - our goal is to attempt to provide similar competition levels within each bubble to provide the most positive playing experience we can for our players
-"Rep/AE" hockey cannot happen in Stage 3 due to travel restrictions and regulations for team size and league bubbles
-we must begin with a minimum of two weeks of skill development before game play is permitted
-game play can consist of a 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 format, with modified rules to support this format
-hockey activities are to be non-contact
-players are able to register with their home centre or return to the centre where they played last season (you would need to contact the applicable association regarding their policies and ability to add players to teams)
-no new Non-Resident Passports (NRPs) will be given
-the Stage 3 format is for all levels and associations within OHF
-we will need to have teams determined prior to our players hitting the ice
-The Summit Centre will be closed to the Public, with specific entry and exit procedures - the current maximum permitted in the Don Lough Arena at one time is 50 - the Town Staff are working on finalizing the procedures for us to follow: i.e. Entry/Exit, Timing of Ice Rentals to allow for sanitizing, Dressing Rooms, Benches, Assistance with getting players ready for the ice etc. - when their Facilities' Plan is finalized, we will share it with our families
-masks will be required for everyone in the Summit Centre (as with all public buildings), players will be able to remove the masks while on the ice
-planning is focused on working within the safety parameters in an effort to protect our players and volunteers
-Formal Registration will be opened shortly - please make sure you don't miss this
-the Preliminary Registration does not officially register your player for this season, it was simply for planning purposes and as support for the number of ice hours we requested from the Town of Huntsville (only one ice surface will be opened until the town of Huntsville deems it is appropriate to open both Arenas)
-the window for formal registration will be short and then it will be closed
-players cannot step on the ice without being registered formally through Hockey Canada - this is due to Insurance Regulations - players are not covered by insurance until they register with Hockey Canada
-we will post the date when Registration will be closed - at this point, players will be added to a Wait List and we will only be able to add them if the numbers warrant (i.e. considering team number limits and league bubble limits)
-please be sure to register promptly once formal registration opens and to share this information with anyone you think may have missed it
-we will be posting information regarding a Zoom Meeting where we will further discuss the format for this season and attempt to answer any questions our families may have at that time - please stay informed
-once we have the final plan regarding the Summit Centre, we will share that information
-we will share the start date for the season once it is finalized
-there will be COVID-19 Screening and Contact Tracing information gathered each time someone enters the Summit Centre
-we would like to thank all of you for signing up for the Preliminary Registration - this helps with our programming and the overwhelming response we received from this indicates how important hockey is to our players - as a result, our goal is to provide programming for our players so that they can get back to what they love, within the parameters that have been laid out for everyone's safety and to make that programming as enjoyable as we can for our players.
Now, more than ever, we thank you all for your support, patience and positive attitude as we plan for hockey this season. We are relying on everyone to approach this season with a team mindset, just like we foster in our players on the ice. We really are all on one big team in HMHA and we will need everyone working together to make this work for our kids and bring them back some kind of normal. Please remember this now and as the season progresses with your interactions with any of our volunteers. Things will be different and may not be perfect, but we will try our best and we appreciate the support of our members and families.
GO OTTERS GO!!
Kelly Farnsworth - HMHA President/OMHA Contact