Return to Hockey as of Aug 14, News (Stouffville-Markham Girls Hockey)

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Return to Hockey as of Aug 14
Submitted By John Wilson on Friday, August 14, 2020
Dear Stouffville Markham Hockey Association families,  

Over the summer, the SMGHA Executive has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation and meeting regularly as we plan for return to hockey in the fall. The health and safety of you and your families is our top priority. The 2020-2021 SMGHA hockey program will comply with regulations and guidelines of the Ontario Government, Hockey Canada, the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association, the York Public Health Unit, the Town of Stouffville and the City of Markham.  

Help us by completing our Return to Hockey Survey.
We value your input in creating a safe, engaging season for our players. Please complete our Return to Hockey Survey by August 21st. Survey link will be sent in a separate email.

Click below for more information

The OWHA Return to Hockey Framework provides an outline for the phased approach to return to hockey programming. You can download the current OWHA framework here (updated July 15, 2020). Based on this framework, we are finalizing our plans to begin Rep and House League registration, allocate players to groups, and begin group training.


Over the past few months, the SMGHA executive has been communicating with municipal authorities, Hockey Canada and the OWHA in order to understand the rules that will ultimately govern our return to play programming. The OWHA’s current program framework for Rep and House League is outlined below, but subject to change:


Program Framework (Rep and House League)

· Rosters: we are subject to regulations and protocols imposed by governmental authorities which may limit the number of participants in specific programs or specific age groups. Currently, we are waiting for final confirmation from governing authorities regarding the number of players and coaches who can make up a team roster (for both Rep and House League). We expect answers prior to September 1st.

· Divisions: based on current Ontario Government and OWHA hockey guidelines our Rep programs will not involve interaction with teams from other centres. House League players may be allowed to interact with players on other teams within their own division. If restrictions are lifted throughout the season, we may see a return to traditional hockey (i.e. Rep tryouts, games against other centres, etc.). OWHA will be putting out further guidelines prior to September 1st.

· Gameplay: team practices will be under the direction of accredited coaching staff who will guide players in developing individual and team skills throughout the season. Training and gameplay format (i.e. 3-on-3, 4-on-4 or 5-on-5) has not yet been confirmed by the OWHA. Coaches will follow the Hockey Canada-approved “pathways” in terms of skills, and practice plans. Rep Coaches may conduct programming with the use of a skills instructor who meets the qualifications under the OHF Hockey Canada Licensed Skill Development Program Policy.

· Rep tryouts: In accordance with OWHA's current policy, Rep tryouts are not permitted for any age group. Rep coaches will be reaching out directly to rep eligible players in August, including those at the Novice level, to gauge their level of interest for returning to play. Once we receive confirmation from the OWHA about on-ice numbers, a plan will be made to invite eligible players out for evaluation skates. Should OWHA restrictions be lifted completely, the SMGHA will hold formal try-outs for all age groups.

· Bench staff: will include at least one certified Head Coach and Trainer.

· Season start (subject to change):

o Rep: Late August or September

o House League: Early October

o Select: to be confirmed  

· Spectators: subject to Government of Ontario, Stouffville and Markham facility guidelines. We anticipate limited spectators to start the season (e.g. zero or one spectator per family).

· Change rooms: no access to change rooms (players will come to the facility fully dressed).

· Costs: program costs for Rep and House League are being developed and will depend on team sizes, registration numbers and ice allocation for the season. We will provide an update on registration costs as soon as possible.

· Safety Protocols subject to Government of Ontario, Stouffville and Markham facility guidelines. Before entering facilities, all players/spectators will be required to complete a screening questionnaire prior to every on-ice session. Very likely, masks will be required to be worn while inside facilities. Notification of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases will follow protocols established by governing bodies.



The SMGHA will continue to work on detailed plans throughout August with the hope that we can return to the ice in September. As plans firm up and evolve prior to season start, and during the season itself, we will keep you updated of any changes that impact our players.


We encourage and welcome your feedback.

SMGHA Executive
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