2020 Mid-August Member Communications:
In this second communication, I want to cover a handful of important things that our members will experience as we return to the ice this fall.
Hockey will start, in our COVID-19 development program, September 14, 2020.
Please keep in mind, your first registration installment will have to be paid prior to getting on the ice. For the association to begin to nail down schedules we need confirmed registrations, so if you have not done so, please register now. These development practices will last until Thanksgiving, at a minimum, and possibly longer.
Expect to see a quick survey, via teamSnap, requesting your intentions on trying out for the rep teams. Whistler Minor Hockey Association will have rep teams in U11 (Atom), and U13 (Peewee). Squamish/Whistler Zone teams (The Sea to Sky Bears) will be U15 (Bantam) and U18 (Midget). Do not expect to see a traditional try out format as they will have to be COVID-safe. Tentatively, the try outs will happen will be Sept 26, 2020. All try outs will come with an additional fee that must be paid online in advance. There will be no opportunity to pay at the rink.
It is vital that all members adhere to the back to hockey plan and the safety protocol set out by WMHA, as well as the facility use safety protocol established by the RMOW and Meadow Park.
In the current stage, back to hockey plan will have no more than 10 skaters, two goalies, and two coaches on the ice at once. Max amount of people on the ice is 14. Cohorts of up to 40 players will be permitted. A Cohort is a larger group within which on-ice groups can be changed from session to session. We think this will work fine for us as we currently do not have any divisions close to 40 registrants. The cohort of 40 players will be broken down into groups of 10-12. We plan to break the groups down by skill level and will be able to adjust the groups of 10-12 should we need to as we go along. Development based drills, keeping social distancing practices in mind will be the focus, battle and compete drills will not be apart of this phase. Where possible each group of 12 will have the same two coaches and a safety person.
Facility use protocol
The max amount of people permitted in the lobby is 16 and the lobby will be set up as such that players will arrive fully dressed, enter through the electronic double doors, sign in and confirm no symptoms electronically, staying on the right side of the entrance moving towards the assigned seating to which players will remove skate guards or put on their skates and helmets, then wait for instructions to move towards the ice. Players can enter 10 minutes prior to their scheduled ice time. Players must sanitize their hands prior to entering the arena lobby. No one will be permitted to dress in any dressing rooms.
For the most part, parents will NOT be permitted to watch the practices and have to be available should their child need to be picked up early from the practice. We realize our younger players will need parent assistance for both calming the nerves and getting ready to go on the ice and we are working on a safe protocol with Meadow Park to see that a solution is found. When the practice is over, players will have to quickly take their helmets and skates off or put their skate guards on and leave the rink so the next group can enter. The Meadow Park staff will need time to get their cleaning done before the next group enters, so leaving the rink after your practice must be quick.
Many of our sister associations may not have the use of public facilities in their areas causing ice shortages. We, however, do have the use of our public facility and are able to start our season on time. We appreciate the work the municipality and Meadow Park staff have put in to make the facility safe and available for us to start our season on time
WMHA safety protocol
WMHA has compiled a COVID-19 Safety Plan to meet the requirements laid out by:
- Hockey Canada (Hockey Canada Safety Guidelines),
- BC Hockey (BC Hockey Return to Hockey),
- viaSport BC / Provincial Health Office (viaSport BC Return to Play Activity Guidelines),
- the PCAHA (Return to Hockey Newsletter #1) and
- the Resort Municipality of Whistler (Meadow Park Sports Centre COVID-19 Safe Work Guidelines for Public Entry).
These resources will be available through the WMHA website (www.whistlerminorhockey.com).
The WMHA COVID-19 Safety Plan ensures that WMHA officials, players, and parents/guardians can return to the ice as quickly and safely as possible.
An updated return to play plan as well as our COVID-19 Safety Plan will be posted to the WMHA website before the end of the business day on Monday, August 24.
Other key points to keep in mind
Via teamSnap each player will have to fill out a season waiver and prior to each practice an online health check will have to be completed. Each participant will have to sign in electronically as they enter Meadow Park.
Key points to remember and practice; if the player is not feeling 100%, stay home, if the player, or players family has recently returned from a trip abroad, the player must quarantine for 14 days. Wearing a protective face mask, covering the mouth and nose is highly recommended as is having your own bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Where possible and as much as possible, keep washing those hands. When you need to cough or sneeze, do so into the bend of your elbow or into a tissue and remember to dispose of the tissue immediately into the waste bin. Try to avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose with your hands. Spitting on the ice, or anywhere else in Meadow Park is strictly forbidden. You must arrive with your water bottles filled as filling stations within Meadow Park will be taped off. Sharing of water bottles is no longer permitted.
We realize there are a lot of new rules and guidelines, but remember, they are designed to keep you and those around you safe, and to keep you and your team on the ice.
The Bears zone rep teams
BC hockey is currently accepting and reviewing coach applicants. The cost to the players of the A1 teams will mirror last years fees with the costs of the A2 teams to be slightly less.
Town Hall Zoom Meeting to happen August 24, 2020
Look for an invite via teamSnap. To discuss and ask questions about; the overall numbers, how the cohorts will be devised, what each cohorts’ schedules could look like. Questions pertaining to the WMHA back to hockey plan, the WMHA safety protocol, and the facility use plan will also be reviewed. Any further update from BC hockey regarding the SDZ Bears program will be shared.
I would like to introduce to you, the current board members of Whistler Minor Hockey:
Joe Baker-President, Kevin Creery-Vice President, Janice Mckenzie-Treasurer, Louise Tomcheck-Secretary, Coach Coordinator-Jason Rance, Initiation Coordinator-Chris McKinney, Risk Manager-Erin Marriner, Member at Large-Kevin Sopp, Development Coordinator-Jeremy Robb, Upper Age Coordinator-Chris Armstrong, Referee in Chief-Steve Brooks, Ice Scheduler-Paula Palmer, Ombudsmen-Calvin Jameson, Administrator-Norma Gonzalez-Felix, Disciplinary Committee-Michelle Gemmill, manager coordinator-Dawn Eade, Parent Advisor to the Board-Sheldon Gaudet.
Thanks for your time,