Welcome to the 2020/2021 Hockey Season
I hope this message finds you all well and healthy during these very interesting times. As many of us are wondering what the start of the 2020 Hockey season will look like, I’m hoping to provide the most up to date information that we have at this time as well as what we are hoping to achieve this season. This season has brought some interesting challenges not only with Covid-19, but also with the loss of the Armstrong ice surface until at least late October.
North Okanagan Minor Hockey Association operates under the umbrella of BC Hockey and the guidelines that they deliver to us. On August 31/2020 BC Hockey released the Return to Hockey - Phase 3 Guidelines. This document is the viasport “Return to Sport Guidelines” that are now posted on viaSport.ca and the BC Hockey website. NOMHA must also operate and run programs under the Enderby Arena’s “Safe Operations Plan for COVID-19 Recovery”. NOMHA received this document on August 25th and it is currently being revised based on the viasport “Return to Sport Guidelines”. With Guidelines from BC Hockey and the Enderby Arena, NOMHA is now able to start planning and organizing for the 2020season.
In addition to a number of COVID-19 protocols and return to play protocols that we must follow, we are planning on having the kids return to the ice the week of September 20th. This is later than we have returned to the ice in the past however with Armstrong losing its ice surface and Enderby installing their ice on Sept 19th, this is the soonest we have ice available.
Team sizes, Rep teams and recreation teams are all being considered for the start of the season. NOMHA has committed to running an Atom Development Team, Pee-wee Rep team and possibly a Bantam Rep team. What all this will look like is still very much a best “guess” and changesdaily. At this point NOMHA plans on having the kids get back on the ice starting the week of September 20, with all kids reporting to their appropriate division. After we see how NOMHA is coping with the Protocols that are in place and what team sizes and ice availability will look like we plan on selecting our Atom Development and Rep Team(s). This selection will occur late September and possibly into early October.
Development, Rep programs and Recreation will look very different this year with mostly drills and skill development with the intention of moving to games within a “Cohort” group. This may include playing games with other neighbouring associations when permitted to do so.
NOMHA has made the decision to not collect any fees at this point, as we still do not know what we will be able offer for ice times and programs. With the loss of one facility and being restricted to the number of players on the surface we are working on doing our best to maximize what we have available. Once this becomes clearer, we will come up with a fee structure for the upcoming season.
In early June the B.C. Government passed an order protecting sports associations and their volunteers from any potential litigation brought on by COVID-19, provided they are complying with public health orders and provincial sport guidelines. We are a group of volunteers working to do what we can for our members under ever changing times. Our goal is to get the kids back on the ice at an affordable rate where they can develop and most importantly have some fun!
Randy Zbytnuik President North Okanagan Minor Hockey