As we noted last week, the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF), the governing body of minor hockey in Ontario released their Return to Hockey plan and it has generated many questions from our membership. We are working to get you the answers to the questions you have as soon as we can.
Based on the OHF guidelines, teams will be prohibited to play other teams that are in different Public Health Units (PHU’s) and there will be NO TRYOUTS allowed at this time and therefore, no Representative hockey. As well the inability to play teams that are in different PHUs at this time, this also means that EG will not be participating in Local League. However, the document does outline how hockey can proceed under the current level of Health and Safety protocols. As the situation evolves and if protocols change then EGMHA will consider changes to the programs at all levels accordingly.
EGMHA is still in discussions with the Town of East Gwillimbury to confirm how much ice will be available to the Association and what the local safety protocols will be. We have invited a town representative to attend our AGM on August 18th to explain what to expect at the arena as the season starts. We will note it is our understanding that dressings rooms will be closed, players would be arriving dressed but there be an area for them to put on skates before they go on the ice, they will require a mask when not on the ice in the building and due to current capacity of 50 people in the facility, at this time spectators are unable to be accommodated. We realize the impact this will have our youngest divisions, and are putting together further communications for those age groups which we will send out soon.
We are hoping to establish a tiered approach to our House League programming. Depending on registration numbers, if you played on a Rep team last year (and that includes AA and AAA) you will be in one tier and if you played in HL/LL last season you will be in a separate tier. The tiers would be a combination of the major and minor age groups may also be combined. No special requests for players or coaches will be accepted this season.
Days of the week will vary and will include weekends and weekday ice times. It will be entirely driven by registration numbers. If registration numbers for any particular age group doesn’t allow for enough teams within a tier, it may necessitate there being one tier for that age group. We are also moving forward under the assumption that we will be running either 4v4 modified games, but depending on the numbers to accommodate more teams we may consider 3v3 modified games. Number of players per team will be determined after registration closes.
There are still many details for the EGMHA Executive to work through and we want you to be aware that we are working hard to make this all happen. Once we understand how much ice is available, we will be able to figure out how many teams we can accommodate and how that can work with the registration numbers. Please understand some are already full and for those divisions we are currently placing any new registrations on a waitlist. That is simply because we don’t yet know how many teams we will have enough ice for. We will accommodate as many as we can but unfortunately, can not make any guarantees of being able to participate until we understand the ice situation and the further you are down the waitlist, the more risk you run with not being able to play regardless of the level of hockey you played last season.
Please understand that it is the intention of EGMHA to create a program for ALL of our membership. This season is going to be different that previous years but at the end of the day it is still the game we love to play. We are focusing on making this a FUN and MEMORABLE season for all our players in way that is safe.
Keep checking back to the EGMHA Website for updates on our programming for the coming season.