OMH Return to Hockey Update, News (Oshawa Minor Hockey)

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OMH Return to Hockey Update
Submitted By Lynn Jennings on Wednesday, August 19, 2020
As we get closer to September, we know that you have all been anxiously awaiting further information regarding what this upcoming season will look like. As we are all well aware the Covid-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, including minor hockey, and simply put, this will not be a traditional rep season.

Before going into details regarding our proposed plans for the season, we need to make it clear that at this time we will not be accepting previously submitted registration forms. We realize that some people have already registered prior to this announcement and we apologize for you having to register again, but we need accurate numbers to move forward with this program. 

In order to commit to the below programming for the 2020-21 season we are asking all parents to register their child online using the Fall Registration form now available on the website under tryouts. by no later than August 28th.  This will allow us time to secure the ice required and try to be prepared to allow this program to begin September 14th

Now, moving on to the return to play details. The Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF), which governs all hockey programming in the province, has mandated that there will be no representative hockey permitted during Stage 3 in their Return to Hockey Framework . This means that there will be NO tryouts for teams and all hockey programming will take place strictly within local associations.

There is a possibility within Stage 3 D/3E for games versus bordering associations to take place. We will adjust if that is the case.

Return to a normal season will only occur during Stage 4 when the OHF, OMHA and the Public Health Department feel it is safe to do so.  At that point regular tryouts will commence to form our regular teams (we do not anticipate this happening until at least January 2021)

In the meantime however, we at Oshawa Minor are focused on the next few months and what type of programming we will be offering. We are very much aware that at this point rumours are running rampant about what hockey is going to look like and that private leagues may be allowing for more traditional or competitive programming.

It is important we make clear that under Hockey Canada, OHF and Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) rules, anyone who chooses to register with an unsanctioned league AFTER September 30th, 2020 will NOT be permitted to return to any Hockey Canada sanctioned activities (meaning everyone within the OHF – including all OMHA and GTHL associations) for the duration of the 2020-2021 season including if and when a regular/traditional rep season resumes.

    Important OMHA parameters to consider:

o   Players are to be grouped to a maximum of 50 or less depending on the Public Health Unit (PHU). The OHF will review the maximum number permitted upon amendments by the Ontario Government. The number of 50 refers to players only. Bench Staff are not included in this cohort/bubble.”

o   “Programming can be internal to an association

o   Tier players according to skill level to create cohort/bubble.”

o   Teams will be rostered to a maximum of 9 players + 1 goalie.

o   Five (5) Team Officials can be rostered to each team, however, only one Coach and one Trainer can be on the bench during 3v3 & 4v4 games in order to maintain physical distancing on bench.”

o   Following a minimum two-week development phase for any new programs, modified 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 game play with NO physical contact hockey may begin. All Game Play is within local Public Health Unit (PHU). All Game Play must be conducted in conjunction with the local PHU and facility rules for the purpose of sanitation and physical distancing.”

 

Player Movement and Registration:

o   As stipulated in the OHF RTP Framework, players can stay where they were rostered in 2019-20 or return to their home association.

o   AAA - Players can stay where they were rostered in 2019-20 or return to their home association. There will be no OHF AAA Waivers available in Stage 3.

o   Non Resident Players (NRP) - Players can stay where they were rostered in 2019-20 or return to their home association. There will be no new NRP player movement during Stage 3.

o   Players who moved Associations via Regulation 3.5 can stay where they were rostered in 2019-20 or return to their home association. This would not be considered as counting toward the two (2) seasons as defined in Policy 4.1.b).

o   New to Oshawa – If you have recently moved to Oshawa and are looking to register please email [email protected]

OMH Return To Play Framework:

While we are now at a point where we can begin to share these plans with all of you, it is extremely important to keep in mind that this is all very fluid and things can easily change. We have attempted to take this into consideration while planning and have purposefully allowed for flexibility within the proposed season structure.

Please keep these additional considerations in mind:

1.      The health and safety of all participants is our top priority and as such our programming will adhere to all provincial and local public health authority stipulations/guidelines/directives as well as the operating procedures set out by the local facilities whom we rent our ice from.

2.      Further to the above point, all proposed programming must first be submitted to and then approved by the OMHA and our local PHU – in our case Durham Region. We anticipate having our plan submitted and hopefully accepted within the next week. Once this has taken place, we will share the specific details of the seasonal plan with all of you, including fees and exact start dates. We are aiming for a September 14th start date.

3.      OMH will be following the protocols identified in the Hockey Canada Safety Guidelines. Additionally, ALL participants, including players, coaches and instructors, will be required to complete a health screening prior to each on-ice activity. The health screening may be completed verbally. Furthermore, a tracking sheet will have to be completed for each on ice session in order to facilitate contact tracing in the event of a Covid-19 exposure. This information will be collected either electronically or in hard copy and will be stored in a secure location, only to be accessed by our Head of Risk Management if required.

4.      We are still awaiting further direction from the City of Oshawa in terms of ice allocation and overall availability, as well as clarification on the number of participants and spectators allowed per ice pad at any one time. We expect that this information may change over time, and as such we will provide updates and/or make adjustments as required.

Proposed Oshawa Minor Hockey Programming under Stage 3:

While this has yet to be approved/finalized, below is a general idea of what we expect to offer in terms of programming. Again, please keep in mind that things may change based on registration numbers, PHU guidelines/restrictions, ice availability and any other factors that must be considered:

The overall purpose of the program is to focus on individual and team skills development as well as offer games based on a modified format (4 on 4).

Players will be grouped into cohorts/bubbles of approximately 40 individuals based on similar skill level and age group – specifically with AAA and AA players grouped together and A and AE players grouped together. Where necessary, cohorts may be created by combining minor and major years (keeping in mind that there is no physical contact permitted). The team that a player played on in the 2019/2020 season will be used to assist in creating these groups, however in exceptional circumstances an individual may be moved up an age group or cohort level if it is deemed necessary to do so.

It is our intention to have the weekly ice sessions to consist of the following:

-  1 skills session with development program/vendor

-  1 practice with coaches based on age group and level

-  1 modified 4 on 4 game (could be 3 on 3 in some cases dependent on registration         numbers)

Practices and skills sessions will consist of 20 players (18 players + 2 goalies) and then 3-4 tiered teams will be created for game play based on the original cohorts of up to 40 players.

When it comes to the creation of teams for game play, players will be divided into groups of no more than 9 players and 1 goalie. The distribution of players will be done as fairly as possible so as to ensure more equal competition. Ex. 4 teams may be created from the traditional U13 AAA and AA players (albeit not all will necessarily be composed of 9 players – some may have less and adjustments will be made where required) and the same goes for the A and AE level cohorts.

The specifics of the game structure will be provided at a later date once we have a better/clearer understanding of how the City plans to allocate ice times, however it will not be a traditional format. Please see the OHF Return to Hockey Framework provided on our website for an idea of how games may be run (i.e. no faceoffs, penalty shots instead of penalties, etc.).

Lastly, we recognize that many of you still have questions and concerns and because of this we are planning to host a virtual Town Hall likely during the last week of August when you will have the opportunity to ask questions to us directly. Further information about registration for this event will be provided at a closer date, but for now please send any immediate questions to [email protected]

Once again, we sincerely thank you all for your patience and understanding during this process.

OMH Executive Team

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