Return to Play for the 2020-2021 Season, News (Essa Minor Hockey)

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Sep 04, 2020 | Tiffany Hart | 3763 views
Return to Play for the 2020-2021 Season
Please read the letter below regarding the Return to Play for Essa Minor Hockey

Dear Essa Eagles Families,  

We are excited to announce that hockey is returning to the Essa Recreation Center this September.  During these unprecedented times hockey will look different, but we are looking forward to seeing the kids back on their home ice after a long six-month break. It was an abrupt end to last season, and we can’t wait rekindle the Eagle spirit and hear the sound of skates on the ice again in Angus. 

For this season we will be governed by two separate Return to Play Protocols. One by the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) that specifies what the structure will look like and then by the Return to Play as outlined by our township. As you can imagine it has been tricky molding these together.
The OHF has worked in conjunction with Hockey Canada, the National Sport Organization (NSO) for hockey, and the Ontario Government to ensure that the safety of our Players, Coaches, Officials, Administrators and Volunteers are at the center of the return to play plan. This plan focuses on making the return to hockey fluid, while enhancing the experience.

The season will look very different than in past years, and we are sure there will be many more changes throughout the season. However, we wanted to provide our association families with some information on how Essa Minor Hockey (EMHA) plans to progress with the season. Our focus through all of this is to get the players back on the ice in their hometown, to provide an opportunity for the players to reconnect with their teammates and play the game they love.

As of September 1st it appears that we will be in Stage 3b of the Ontario Hockey Federation's return to play plan Return to Hockey.  After reviewing the OHF plan and the requirements of Township of Essa recreational facilities the EMHA season will start with these modifications in place.
The Facts:

  • At this time, there are no GBTLL, GBMHL or OMHA league games. 
  • Teams will have 9 skaters and 1 goalie.
  • Bench staff will have only 1 coach and 1 trainer and are limited to one roster. 
  • Games will be 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 and will consist of two 22-minute periods.  Games will start in mid-October.
  • Teams will have one practice and one game per week.
  • There is no bond program for the 2020-2021 season.
  • We are unable to offer fundraising opportunities at this time. However, we would be willing to accept some team proposals that does not solicit sponsors and no door to door sales. An example would be Flipgive. This will be team based not association wide and only under Executive approval.
  • Teams will be part of a “bubble” within ESSA currently that will consist of up to 5 teams (50 players).   
  • There will be a two week evaluation period followed by team selection. No Tryouts.
  • Divisions may be combined to accommodate the 50 person bubble.
  • There will not be any games with other Associations, all play will stay within Essa (until such a time as we are granted permission).
  • Teams will be decided by a draft process, creating teams in the fairest possible way. Teams will be a balanced mix of players from all levels within the division.
  • Players may be required to move up or down an age group to help balance division numbers.
  • Players/coaches/trainers can only be rostered to one team.
  • There will not be an Affiliate Player program this season
  • Other than siblings, we cannot accommodate requests for players to be placed on teams together.
  • Targeting September 26th for start times with Timbits pushed by two weeks.
  • The first 2 weeks must be used for practice/assessment of all players
  • The season will conclude in March or as designated by OHF.
  • There will be a full week break at Christmas. No hockey will be scheduled over the Family Day Weekend or Halloween. 
Season Structure 
  • The hockey season will be divided into 2 parts:
  • Season 1 will run from October up to December
  • Season 2 will run from January to March
Game Play

  • 5 min warm up
  • 2 x 22 min period run time
  • 1 min intermission between 1st and 2nd period
  • No overtime. No shootout for tied games
  • No faceoffs – period 1 visiting team has 1st possession, period 2 home team has 1st possession
  • No physical contact. No body checking
  • Players are to remain one stick length apart
  • Accidental/incidental contact may occur
  • When a scrum or gathering occurs the puck will be given to the depending team and the attaching team must retreat. A whistle will be blown to separate the players and another to resume play.

Additional Physical Distancing & Covid Related Requirements: 
More specific details and information will be provided in the coming weeks, but a general overview is: 
  • Players cannot attend any hockey related activity if they have tested covid positive, are exhibiting covid symptoms, been in close contact with anyone exhibiting symptoms/tested positive. 
  • More details on the reporting of symptoms, positive results, etc. will come in the following weeks. 
  • All players will be required to sign in and complete a health assessment questionnaire for all ice times. 
General Arena Guidelines (Provided by The Township of Essa)
  • Participants/parents/guardians/coaches/instructors will be required to complete a self-screening check before entering the facility. If you are feeling unwell, have symptoms of COVID-19, are waiting for a COVID-19 result, or have been in contact with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19, you will not be permitted to enter the facility. These procedures will be posted as you enter the facility.
  • Participants/parents/guardians/coaches/instructors must practice physical distancing of 2 meters (6 feet).
  • Participants/parents/guardians/coaches/instructors must sanitize hands upon entering and exiting the facility. Frequent hand washing and sanitizing while in the facility is highly recommended.
  • Participants/parents/guardians/coaches/instructors must follow traffic flow and spacing instructions that are clearly marked with stickers and signs. 
  • Masks must be worn at all times, except when on ice by all facility users.
  • Participants must come to the arena dressed and ready to play/skate. Skates, helmets and gloves can be put on upon arrival. Masks can be removed when helmets are put on and must be put back on once helmets are removed. Hockey goalies are permitted to put on their chest protectors and goalie pads on in the arena. 
  • Participants must have their own clearly marked water bottles.
  • The sharing of equipment or sticks is not permitted.
  • The user group or ice renter will be responsible for screening participants and tracking attendance and contact information using templates provided by the Township.
  • Dressing rooms will be open for the purpose of putting on skates, helmet and gloves only. Users are permitted 8 skaters per dressing room. Skaters aged 13 and under who require assistance with skate tying are permitted one parent/adult/guardian to accompany them to the dressing room. Immediately following skates being tied the adult exits the facility. Special considerations can be made upon request. Showers will remain closed until further notice and no access will be permitted. Dressing room washrooms and sinks will be permitted to use.
  • At this time spectators will not be allowed in the facility to watch events.
  • No gathering or loitering in parking areas or public areas before, during, or after your activity.
  • Water fountains and canteen are not available.
  • Rentals will need to ensure the entire group is present before entering the facility (late participants will not gain access to the facility).
  • Provincial restrictions require that the arena is sanitized a minimum of twice a day with recommendation that it occurs more frequently. 
  • Designated Operations Staff will be responsible for sanitizing the following areas during bookings and between groups; washrooms, dressing rooms, high touch point surfaces, doorways, players benches, timekeepers boxes.
General Ice Usage Guidelines (Provided by The Township of Essa)
  • A maximum of 20 skaters/players will be allowed on the ice at any time (plus coaches).
  • Participants are to arrive at the facility no more than 15 minutes before their designated ice time.
  • No spitting on the bench or on the ice will be permitted.
  • Players are not allowed to take their helmets or gloves off while on the ice.
  • There will be no shaking of hands at any time before or after any game.
  • There will be no ‘contact or battle drills’ practiced. Only skill drills are permitted.
  • Players/skaters on-ice behavior is the responsibility of the coach/instructor.
  • Leagues must contain no more than 50 participant’s total. If participants in a league exceed 50, the league may divide into smaller groups of no more than 50. Players are not yet permitted to play against players outside of their league or group.
  • Participants are to leave the facility promptly (within 10 minutes) after their designated ice time.
Registration Details:
We are required to confirm our numbers with the Township of Essa by September 15th in order to progress with our ice contracts and our return to play guidelines.  
  • If you are currently registered click HERE to confirm your registration. For new registrants you will need to complete your registration through the Hockey Canada website by September 14, 2020. 
NO EXCEPTIONS. Registrations received after September 15, will automatically be put on a waiting list due to the bubbling requirements.  Payment details are below.

 Division Portion #1
Sept 30,2020
Portion #2
Dec 15, 2020
Total Fee
 U7 (IP/Timbits)
2014 and earlier
 $125 $125 $250
U8 (Minor Novice) 2013
U9 (Major Novice) 2012
$375 $200 $575
U11 (Atom) 2011/2010
U13 (Peewee) 2009/2008
U15 (Bantam) 2007/2006
U18 (Midget) 2005/2004/2003
$500 $350 $850

The start of the season is dependent on when the ice goes in, but at this time we are anticipating starting to get kids back on the ice on Saturday, September 26th, 2020.
  • Registration rates are based on ice cost, insurance, cost for additional coaches/trainers and some supplies.
  • Ice costs are based on 1 practice and 1 game per week.
  • Teams U9 and below the practice ice will be split. Teams U10 and above it will be full ice. Hence the price difference.
  • We are looking at an approximate 26 week season in total. Which will be approximately 52 ice times. Numbers are approximate.

We understand that this is a time of uncertainty for many, and that there will be lots of questions related to how the hockey season will progress. Please ensure you check the website regularly as we will be using this as our main method to communicate important information to the families within our association. Also, please keep in mind that these requirements and guidelines may change in the coming weeks based on guidelines brought forward by OHF, Township of Essa or the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. 
For this season the word of the year will be flexibility. Rules will be changing on the fly to meet our governing bodies. Please be open to change as we are under some incredible regulations in these trying times.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to the EMHA Executive via our contacts listed on the website. 

Looking forward to a great season, 

Essa Minor Hockey Executive