Return to Hockey – September 29, 2021

In League News by TLGHA

Return to Hockey FAQ
Will vaccinations be required for eligible players and coaches for the 2021-22 season?

Yes.

On September 3, 2021, our governing body, the OWHA, announced that as a condition of participation in the OWHA, players and other participants who were born 2009 or earlier be fully vaccinated as soon as possible. We anticipate more information regarding how to submit proof of vaccination and other details to be available soon.

Please Note: If you are eligible and not yet fully vaccinated, you have until November 1, 2021, to fulfill this requirement. A person is considered fully vaccinated 14 days following their second shot.

Where does hockey Stand today?

Hockey is returning to a more normal state. In July and August, most competitive teams will be participating in boot camps and practices. With Step 3, these activities are allowed to proceed as they normally would during any other off-season.

What should I expect at the rink?

Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey will be screening and tracking our members during sanctioned on- and off-ice activities. Various arenas may also have a screening and tracking procedure in place, as well as vaccination policies, which Wildcat participants need to adhere to. We anticipate more information regarding how to submit proof of vaccination and other details to be available in the weeks to come. Masks are required inside the arena, except during on-ice activities. We are expecting locker rooms and benches to be available. These will follow a social-distancing protocol. Spectators will be allowed in some arenas. Capacity limits will be posted at each facility. Masks and social-distancing is required, along with the aforementioned Wildcat screening and tracking. We are currently developing a process for tracking spectators. Until that point, the team safety managers will be responsible for this.

Are there any restrictions?

The OWHA is allowing exhibition play but not regular season play as of yet. Aside from this, teams are allowed their full rosters on the ice for practices. Intrasquad scrimmages are also allowed. Facilities may have their own requirements for on-ice capacity and social-distancing rules.

What is the role of the safety manager (TSMs)?

Each house league and competitive team will have a TSM. This person is responsible for ensuring screening and tracking of participants. The TSM will follow the Wildcat protocols, which include escalating COVID-19 issues to our head trainers as well as Toronto Public Health to seek guidance and understand any necessary steps.

Are spectators allowed?

Spectators will be allowed in many but not all arenas. Each arena will post a capacity limit for their facility. Limits depend on available seating, and where there is standing room only, fire code guidelines. Spectators will be screened and tracked as they enter the arena. We are currently developing a process for screening spectators. While inside, they must wear a mask and practice social-distancing. Any questions about spectator capacity and/or protocols should be addressed to your respective TSM.

Is it safe to return to hockey?

Our association follows the protocols established by Hockey Canada and the OWHA. These safety guidelines were developed in conjunction with Public Health Ontario. Our association was on the ice for a number of months last season. We had no incidents and are confident that our protocols are in accordance with existing safety guidelines and work. We have established a framework that we will focus on the right things – safe and engaging hockey. If we believe that this is unachievable at any time, we will put a pause on Wildcat hockey.

What if my child feels sick or believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 prior to practice?

We have established a screening mechanism similar to that with which we are all very familiar. Our screening checks all players, coaches, and parents for symptoms and exposure. The arenas will have a comparable screening questionnaire that will have to be completed before entering the premises.

If your child feels sick or is experiencing any of the symptoms related to COVID-19, please do not come to the arena and seek guidance from Toronto Health. We have, in addition, established a process to connect with Toronto Health if, after a practice, any of our players suspect that they have COVID-19. It is perfectly normal to feel uncomfortable about having your daughter return to play. We encourage you to talk to your coaching staff or the association to discuss this.

What will the season look like?

While we are hoping that hockey fully returns to normal, we do not have an answer on how the competitive season will look. We expect some guidelines in mid-September. We anticipate that the house league and learning program schedules will be back to normal. Registration information is available on our website.

Mark Schrutt
President, TLGHA