Dear Essa Eagle Families,
behalf of the Executive, we would like to thank you for your patience as we
navigate these unprecedented times. After the abrupt end to
the season back in March and the last 5 months of uncertainty, we know you are
waiting for news of when you will be returning to the rink. We are working diligently with
various authorities to ensure players can return to hockey safely.
EMHA is governed by Hockey Canada, OHF and OMHA, respectively, and all return to play decisions must be in line with these governing bodies with final approval from the OMHA.
The OHF released their Return to Hockey guidelines on July 31st followed by the OMHA releasing more detailed guidelines on Friday, August 14th.
Now that we have the guidelines from the OMHA, the Executive will work to finalize the Return to Hockey plan specific to EMHA and then seek approval from the OMHA. Following approval from the OMHA we must also gain approval from Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
What is happening now…
EMHA is meeting with the Township of Essa to discuss ice allocation, costs and their plans within the town facilities – specifically, timelines for ice availability, entry to facilities, use of change rooms etc. These are only one part of the overall costs associated with running our hockey programs.
We will see an impact to our seasonal budget with decreased rosters sizes and lack of revenue from tournaments, youth dances and fundraising. Our mandate is to build a program that gets kids back on the ice to promote their physical and emotional wellbeing during this time, while being fiscally responsible and working within our governing body and health unit guidelines.
As we move through each phase of our return to hockey framework, the safety of our players is guiding every decision and consideration EMHA is making. We strongly support the direction from the OMHA and the OHF and right now our key focus is getting players back on the ice, playing with their friends, providing good physical health, and supporting their mental wellbeing.
What we know right now based on the OHF guidelines is as follows:
• We will not be able to offer the Junior Eagles Program for 2020/2021. The IP program will at best be delayed until Mid-October. A final decision on IP division will be made by October 1st. Although this may be devastating, we understand that given all the physical distancing and restrictions on people permitted in the facility, it may not feasible at this time.
Some of the rules we are navigating. Some may change, but this is the current direction:
• All hockey will be non-contact
• All EMHA players will play within a bubble of a maximum of 50 players
• EMHA has been advised by the OMHA that teams will not be permitted to play neighbouring centres at this time
• A wellness check form will be required for all participants every time they enter the building. More details will follow as we get closer to start up
• There will be no tryouts. There will be a minimum of a 2 week evaluation period and players will be placed on teams with a balance of skill
• No Rep teams
• Teams will consist of a maximum of 10 players; 9 skaters and 1 goalie, along with 1 coach and 1 trainer
• We will most likely play 3 on 3 format, but it will depend on the numbers at each level
• We anticipate players will return to the ice the third week of September; this needs to be finalized with the Township of Essa.
To facilitate a modified return to hockey framework, we are going to require additional coaching staff. If you are interested in coaching this season please contact us.
We appreciate everyone’s patience as we navigate these unprecedented times. We know things will look and feel different this upcoming season but the most important thing is getting your kids back on the ice and having fun. We will continue to send updates as we have them through the website, facebook and our Essa Blasts.
President, Essa Minor Hockey