Return to Hockey as of Aug 27, News (Stouffville-Markham Girls Hockey)

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Return to Hockey as of Aug 27
Submitted By John Wilson on Friday, August 28, 2020
SMGHA Update on player registration

Thank you for your patience as we work through our return to hockey plan. The health and safety of you and your families remain our top priority. We have now opened registration for Rep and House League players.

IMPORTANT: This year is going to be different. Before registering your players for SMGHA hockey, please ensure that you understand our plan for modified Rep player selection, training and gameplay and COVID safety protocols.

Read SMGHA Return-to-Hockey and Player Registration Update for instructions on how to register for Rep and House League


Governing Bodies

The 2020-2021 SMGHA hockey program will comply with regulations and guidelines of the Ontario Government, Hockey Canada, the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association (OWHA), the York Public Health Unit, the Town of Stouffville and the City of Markham.


Important Considerations

  • A player in an OWHA Group may not be a part of any other hockey participant group in Ontario. This means that a player can only register, and play for, one association. Players registered with the OWHA are not eligible for registration or participation on any other sanctioned (OHA, OHL, etc.) or private hockey leagues (NTR 3 on 3 League, etc.).
  •  # players on the ice: 30 participants, including coaches (as per OWHA)
  •  # people in a facility: Currently, Stouffville will allow 50 people per rink, including players, coaches and spectators. Markham will allow 25 people per rink, including players and coaches (currently, NO spectators will be permitted in Markham rinks). 
  • “Extended Groups”: Players are limited to a bubble of 50 participants for the duration of the season. Please note once your 50-participant bubble is established, changes to that list will not be accepted. Also, no player or Group may be part of more than one Extended Group (based on current OWHA policies). 
    • For House League, this means that divisions will be limited to 50 players and players will be able to interact with other teams in the division.
    • For Rep teams, Extended Groups will be determined by our coaches and SMGHA Executive.
    • A decision on Select Teams (DS) will be communicated at a later date. We are currently waiting on OWHA guidelines.


Registration: REP HOCKEY

  • Registration: To register for Rep, all players must first complete an “Intent to Register for Rep” form by September 8. Once players have been assigned to a Rep team, the coach and organization will provide instructions on how to formally register for the season. 
  • Key dates:
    • Submit "Intent to Register for Rep "form: Aug 28 – Sept 8
    • Team selection and player registration: Sept 9 – Sept 12
    • Training starts: Week of Sept 13
  • Player Selection: No tryouts are permitted by OWHA. SMGHA Rep coaches will review the list of players who have completed the “Intent to Register for Rep” form. With the approval of the SMGHA Executive, Rep coaches will assign each player to a specific Rep team, or to House League. We will use a tiered structure to form Rep teams (i.e. AA, A, BB) and coaches will consider each player’s calibre and playing history. 2019-2020 House League players are permitted to apply for a Rep team. 
    • Team size: Maximum size of 17 per team.
    • 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. A combination of development training and gameplay format (i.e. 3-on-3, 4-on-4) will be determined by each coach. Currently, 5-on-5 games are not permitted by the OWHA.
    • Costs: An initial deposit of $500 will be required to complete registrationPayment for the remainder of the season will be calculated based on ice allocation and communicated by each coach to their team parents.
  • Pick-ups / Affiliate Players: No pick-ups or AP players permitted as per OWHA
  • League and Tournaments: There will be no league or tournament play
  • Social Gatherings: No team or Extended Group team gatherings or overnight activities



Registration: HOUSE LEAGUE

  • Registration: House League players can register via our online registration portal starting today
  • Key dates:
    • Registration: Aug 28 - Sept 25
    • Hockey starts: Week of October 12
  • Team size: We are initially planning for House League teams of 12 to ensure that we do not exceed the on-ice participant maximum (set by OWHA) or facility maximums (set by Markham and Stouffville).
  • Division size: A maximum of 50 players can be registered in each House League division, as per OWHA’s protocol for Extended Groups.
  • 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. Gameplay format will likely be 3-on-3 or 4-on-4. Currently, 5-on-5 games are not permitted by the OWHA.  
  • Costs:
    • $425: Initiation, Novice, Atom, Peewee
    • $400: Bantam/Midget
  • Friend requests: Will be considered but cannot be guaranteed this year

 Register via our online registration portal and submit payment by September 25. (Register/Pay on menu then click on 'Select to Register')


COVID Protocols: Arriving at the rink

  • Masks: All players, spectators and coaches must wear a mask while in a City of Markham or Town of Stouffville facility. You will not be able to enter a Markham or Stouffville facility without a mask. Players will remove their mask when they put on their helmet, as long as they are maintaining social distancing.
  • Screening questions: All players, spectators and coaches will be required to answer a set of screening question about COVID diagnosis and potential exposure before entering the rink.
  • Contact tracing: All players, spectators and coaches will be required to provide their contact information before entering the rink to support contact tracing.
  • Dressing rooms: Dressing rooms will be closed. There is no dressing room access for any reason.
  • Getting dressed: Players will arrive at the arena fully dressed, except for skates, gloves, helmet and goalie pads. You cannot bring any equipment bags into the arena. Physical distancing will be maintained while putting on skates and waiting to go on the ice. Goalies can put on pads once inside the arena.
  • Water bottles: Players will be required to bring their own filled water bottles and carry their own bottles on the ice. No sharing of bottles will be permitted and water stations will not be open in the rinks.
  • Sanitizing the arena: Time will be scheduled between on-ice session so that facility staff can sanitize high traffic areas and touchpoints in the rink.
  • Entering the arena: Due to facility restrictions on the number of people who can be in the facility, teams cannot overlap when arriving or leaving the rink. Currently, we anticipate that your full team will need to arrive at the area 20 minutes prior to ice time. You will then enter the arena as a full team at the same time once screening and contact tracing information has been captured. You will have 10 minutes after your session to leave the building.


COVID Protocols: Group Training and Gameplay

  • Physical distancing: Strict on-ice physical distancing is required for the purpose of individual and group training and if any of the Ontario Government, local PHU, the facility or the OWHA has further restrictions, all programming must comply. This means no intentional contact between players.
  • The bench: We anticipate limited or normal use of the bench with physical distancing.
  • Group Training: Training/practices sessions will proceed with physical distancing on the ice.
  • Modified Gameplay: All Modified Game Play must be conducted in conjunction with the local PHU and facility rules for the purpose of sanitization and physical distancing. Likely games will be 3-on-3 or 4-on-4. Currently, no 5-on-5 hockey is permitted (as per OWHA).


SMGHA COVID Plan and Executive Lead

The SMGHA Executive has identified a member of the Executive to act as our COVID Response Lead, in accordance with OWHA protocols. All registered members of our association will receive an email outlining the SMGHA's COVID protocols.


Return to Hockey Survey – Q&A

Last week, we sent out a Return to Hockey Survey to all of our association members. We were pleased to receive 268 responses and close to 90% of our players are planning on returning this year. Our survey also captured a number of parent concerns and questions. Below, you will find answers to some of the most common questions we saw on the survey.


Q&A Responses


1. What will happen if a player or coach on my child’s team is exposed to COVID, or has a positive COVID diagnosis?
Association members will receive a detailed emailing outlining our COVID protocols, including what happens when someone exhibits symptoms, tests positive for COVID, and the return-to-hockey protocol for anyone exposed to COVID-19.

2. How can we ensure our children are safe in their dressing rooms?

As noted in our Return to Hockey protocols above, the City of Markham and Town of Stouffville will not be opening any dressing rooms for use.


3. Are clear Itech-style face shields going to be a requirement for players on the ice?

Currently, there are no OWHA requirements for players to wear an Itech-style face shield. Note that these face shields have holes around players’ mouths to breathe.


4. Can players in House League play up/down in another division? I have kids in two divisions (Novice and Atom) and would prefer that they play on the same team.

Given that we will have restrictions on the number of players in a House League division (50 players maximum), we want to ensure that as many players as possible can play hockey this season. Priority for playing in a division will go to players of the relevant birth year first, though we may, at the discretion of the Association, request that more advanced players play up in a higher division to make room for players in a lower division. We cannot guarantee that siblings from different divisions would be able to play together in the same division.


5. If circumstances change, can I register my child for hockey mid-season?

The SMGHA will keep registration open for the full season. However, registering your child for House League or Rep will be subject to the availability of space in our divisions/teams. Currently, we believe that all Rep groups will be finalized before the season starts.


6. If circumstances change, can I request a refund mid-season?

The SMGHA will consider all reasonable refund requests and will adjust our own training and gameplay protocols if the COVID situation changes during the season. Note that some fees (i.e. OWHA registration fee) are not refundable once a player has stepped on the ice for the first time. Our 2020-2021 Refund Policy will be available on our website shortly.  


7. How will Rep levels/groups be determined if there are not tryouts permitted? For example, my child played B last year and would like to play A this year? Or, my child played House League last year and would like to play Rep this year?

As per the OWHA, we are not permitted to hold tryouts or evaluations for Rep. Instead, coaches have been asked to establish groups based on player interest and past performance. If your child wants to play Rep, you must first complete an “Intent to Register for Rep” form by September 8 and indicate the level(s) (AA, A, BB, B) that you are interested in. Coaches at each age level will work together to establish groups and will notify you if your player has been assigned to a Rep team, or to House League. Then, the coach and organization will provide instructions on how to formally register for the season.


Thank you for your patience as we plan to get our girls back to hockey safety.


SMGHA Executive


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