2020-2021 Hockey Season Start-Up, News (East Lambton Minor Hockey)

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2020-2021 Hockey Season Start-Up
Submitted By Brian Jubenville on Monday, August 17, 2020
ELMHA members,  

With this strange year due to COVID-19, we of course will have a slightly different start to our upcoming hockey season.  We have been getting direction from OMHA, our Health Unit, and our two municipalities on what we can and cannot do.  

We are planning on a start date of September 8, 2020.  OMHA has directed us to set up groups, known as “Bubbles” or “Hockey Bubbles” to start the season. Each bubble is permitted to have no more than 50 players and is subject to strict guidelines. ELMHA has decided to keep our bubbles within our association. We will have six bubbles - U18(Midget), U15(Bantam), U13(Peewee), U11(Atom), U9(Novice), U7(Pre-Novice).   Since we are allowed no more than 25 players on the ice at once and we cannot have tryouts, we are considering splitting the kids up by birth year, for the first two weeks. A board member will be designated as the "Manager" for each category/bubble.  This manager will lead the organization and development of their respective bubble. This will include ensuring that each ice time has an appropriate amount of coaches/on-ice helpers on the ice to run each ice time and coordinating these volunteers to collectively develop a fun and effective development plan for each group. Please note that groupings within the bubbles are flexible and can change over time.  

For our Initiation Program players, we are considering a staggered start, with 6 year olds (2014) only for the first 2 weeks.  Since we have been directed that social distancing applies on ice and in dressing rooms, this leaves us in a challenging spot with children that are not self-sufficient enough to follow directions and skate on their own.  Coaches will not be allowed to help these young players get up off the ice up or be too close to them in anyway.  Parents will also not likely be allowed in the arena to be spectators.    

We know this is different than our usual start-up and may present challenges at times, but we think this approach is the safest for our players and offers the flexibility needed to adjust to the dynamic nature of COVID-19. Beyond safety and flexibility, ELMHA will strive to maintain our high standards of effective player development and creating hockey experiences that are enjoyable and fun. We know the kids are eager to skate and connect with friends/teammates.   

These parameters are guided by the Hockey Canada and Ontario Hockey Association Return to Play guidelines for stage 3b of the plan. The 3b guidelines are set to run until approximately November 1, but, of course, are subject to change based on directives from OHF, OMHA, and our local Health Officials as they respond to COVID-19. We are asking parents to please spread this message to other parents and to keep in mind that we as a board are trying our best to make hockey work in an enjoyable and productive way this season.

Thank you,
Adam MacKellar
ELMHA President
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