ORHC COVID-19 Updates (Oakville Rangers Hockey Club)

PrintORHC COVID-19 Updates

Oakville Rangers Hockey Club
Return To Play Plan

The Oakville Rangers Return-To-Play plan. Hockey is (safely) BACK!

Return to Play If the last 6 months have taught us anything, it’s that no one has definitive answers, things that made sense a week ago can look ridiculous and completely inappropriate the following week and that making plans is a complicated and tricky process during a pandemic.

That being said, after a painstaking process of many many drafts, we have formulated a return to hockey plan that includes as much fun, safety, affordability, development, competition and flexibility as possible. Below are some of the highlights and details of our plan:

  • Registration opened on September 1st.
  • We understand that many are facing challenging times and the future is uncertain so you can sign up your son/daughter right now for only $240. Then, on November 9th, there will be another $240 installment that will take us to January 1st, 2021. Currently, the Town is not booking ice beyond that date so we are standing by but have plans ready to go.
  • Your son/daughter will be participating within a competitively matched group of 20-40 players. All practice and play will be conducted within cohorts of no more than 50 players, and there will be no crossover between the cohorts.
  • Our return to play plan adheres to all Provincial, Town of Oakville and OHF safety mandates.
  • It sounds so good, so let’s say it again…registration is open today and you can secure a spot for your child for only $240!

Alright, let’s get into the details.

The first part of the House League season will begin on October 17th (the week after Thanksgiving) and will carry on for 10 weeks. House League registration is open and closes Thursday, September 17th at 11:59PM. That being said, do not wait to register. Space is very limited this season and when we are full, we are full. Traditionally we would use the Waitlist to determine if we can add additional teams or Divisions, but this season is already a massive organizational challenge and ice is at a premium. There will be no additional teams added this season to accommodate the Waitlisted players, nor is it an option to make teams bigger – that simply can not be done this year. Players on the Waitlist will only be offered a spot if one becomes available as a result of another registered player withdrawing.

The Rep Development season will get under way as soon as possible. Registration for Rep Development is open to players who played Rep last season in Oakville or who played Rep elsewhere but are not returning to their previous team and are Oakville residents. Rep Development registration is open and closes Sunday, September 13th at 11:59PM. If you don’t register by the deadline, then you are not eligible to be a part of the Rep Development program or a return to traditional Oakville Rangers Rep programming if/when we enter Stage 4. Simply put, if you played Rep in Oakville last year, your only option during Stage 3 is to play hockey in Oakville. If you are an Oakville resident, played Rep outside of Oakville last year and are not returning to your club from last year, your only option during Stage 3 is to play hockey in Oakville. Please register by September 13th so we can quickly develop competitive tiers for development and scrimmages.

Let’s be really clear – this is a challenging situation with a lot of uncertainty – aka, the new normal. We have a plan that safely, affordably gets kids back on the ice having fun, developing and competing with their friends. We hope you will be a part of it.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me ([email protected]) AND Melissa Wolk ([email protected]) and we will get you answers and ensure everyone gets the same information. Please do not reach out to our coaches, Board, Executive or Staff at this point as the situation is changing in real time and we want to ensure people are getting clear, consistent answers. All official Club positions and information will come from myself or Melissa only.

Thanks for being Rangers!

John Verdon
Oakville Rangers Hockey Club – President

Rep Development

  • Rep hockey (‘representing’ Oakville) will be converted to Rep Development for the Modified Stage 3 period of the Return to Play
  • No traditional rep travel hockey or tournament play is allowed
  • Development training cohorts of 20 or less players will be formed by the 2020-2021 rep coaches, VPs of Rep, and our hockey development advisors into competitive tiers for each division
  • Last season's rep level as well as evaluation by announced rep coaches, VPs and development advisors will all be considerations for placement
  • Within each cohort individual teams consisting of a maximum of 9 skaters + 1 goalie will be established to allow for internal (and external once allowed) scrimmages and games
  • Leagues will be created with a maximum of 50 players
  • Cohort instruction will be led by announced Rep coaches and the ORHC development team
  • When allowed, limited travel for games within the Halton Public Health Unit (PHU), adjacent PHUs, and throughout the Local Health Integrated Networks (LHIN) in the later phases of stage 3.
  • Modified 4-on-4 format; 5-on-5 once allowed
  • Non-contact at all levels
  • 2 practices and 1 scrimmage per week being planned – TBD
  • In some age groups players from last season's rep levels may be merged to facilitate internal game play leagues (and external games once allowed)

House League

  • 4 team divisional play with a maximum of 50 players per division
  • Modified 4-on-4 game play
  • House League teams will continue to be drafted with the assistance of our experienced league coaches, convenors, and House League VPs to ensure balance and parity
  • 1 game and 1 shared practice per week
  • Travel and tournament play will not be permitted as per the direction of our governing bodies
  • Select teams will not be permitted due to current public health regulations
  • Merging of age groups and levels may occur per division
  • In some cohorts, and depending on registration numbers, goalies may be required to play 2 games per week
  • The House League schedule is currently in development and will be shared on the ORHC website ASAP

How to Register
Do not delay in completing your registration this season. As we mentioned above, space is very limited and there is no flexibility this season to add additional teams. Once your Division is full, it is full. To register, please visit https://oakvillerangers.ca/Pages/20573/.

RFAQs (Really Frequently Asked Questions)

Hockey is not going back to ‘normal’ for the foreseeable future. According to several articles the OHF has received direction from the ministry (of Heritage, Sport Tourism and Culture) indicating that the Province of Ontario is not going to move out of Stage 3 until there is a vaccine. The OHF indicated that unless there is a way to build no physical contact into the game or allow physical contact in some form we're not moving to Stage 4 in hockey. So unless contact is allowed, the traditional game is modified to exclude contact or there is a Covid-19 vaccine that people have taken and allows the Province to move to Stage 4 (or there is a Trumpian miracle and the virus just goes away on its own) we are staying in Stage 3. Neither vaccine scenario is likely anytime before January 1st, 2021.

While that is not great news relative to last year, it is great news that we can get kids back on the ice. There are no high school sports this year and many other kids social/development opportunities have also been cancelled or significantly impacted. Let’s get kids safely back on the ice, having fun, developing and competing with their friends!

Every Hockey Canada/OHF sanctioned club must adhere to the same Return to Play rules as everyone else and those were developed working with the Provincial government. What you are likely hearing are rumors or half-truths or plans that have not been/will not be approved. The simple fact is that there is no better place in Ontario to be playing sanctioned hockey during Stage 3 than in Oakville because of our size and ability to create highly competitive development tiers internally.

That appears to be true in many cases. These organizations are not sanctioned by Hockey Canada, the OHF, the GTHL, the Alliance or the OMHA and so many are using this opportunity to offer different, often riskier hockey opportunities. These private facilities, outlaw leagues and academies existed before Covid-19 and the rules are clear. If you are participating in most of these entities after September 30, you are unable to play for a Hockey Canada sanctioned league for 1 full year. More information on this can be found here.

NO commitments have been made to anyone for the 2020/2021 season as was made clear in April and has been reiterated by the OHF. If you are an Oakville resident, during Stage 3, your son/daughter has 2 hockey choices. Play for the club they were part of last year or return to play in Oakville. The only exception to this is 2019-2020 imports in the GTHL at U13 and above. These players may stay in the GTHL and register with any team in the GTHL or return to their home association. That is it. There are no other options until we get to Stage 4, and Stage 4 is not happening until there is a vaccine – see the first question above. If/when we reach Stage 4, some type of traditional tryouts and verbal/written commitments will likely all be back in the mix at the Rep levels, but the exact rules will be provided to us by our governing bodies.

Those type of questions and concerns are perfectly understandable and reasonable. However, as a club we cannot wait. We have to get registration open with deadlines so that we can quickly determine how many players we have and we can build competitive, safe, fun development tiers. The initial financial commitment is very reasonable and refunds (less sunk costs) will be available if hockey never gets going or ends prematurely. See the next question below for more details

No one knows what is going to happen which is why we built a plan that has a lot of flexibility and that is based on reasonably affordable instalments. Sign up today for $240 and your child has a spot guaranteed. If House League hockey never begins (on October 17), then you will get back $175 (which is all the money less credit card transaction fees, jersey costs, non-refundable ice, and admin costs). Once House League hockey begins on October 17, there is no refund available for the $240 initial deposit. IF hockey continues, another instalment of $240 is required on or about November 9 and that will not be refundable if hockey continues after November 9. Please click here for full Refund details.

In 2 words, ICE and MATH. If our average price for an hour of ice is $250 and that is divided by 30 kids that is a much lower cost per player than $250 of ice being divided by 20 players. In addition to operating as a not-for-profit organization, the club has lost substantial tournament, 3-on-3 Summer League, sponsorship, and royalty revenues as a result of Covid-19. Even at these prices, our club will likely lose significant amounts of money this year but we feel that it is expected/reasonable given all that is going on. Luckily, we have a reasonable cash reserve and we are a not-for-profit organization so we can afford to help keep hockey affordable.

The truth really is that hockey registration cost is a small percentage of your hockey spend. Tournaments, travel, meals, and entertainment make a much bigger portion of annual hockey related spend and those expenses will not, unfortunately, be required this year. Finally, being a part of a 10-person team (vs. 15 or 17) means your child will be on the ice more often.

Last year’s House League and Rep player assessment scorecards will be used to create competitive tiers as well as coaches’ scouting from last season and input from convenors, mentors, and VPs. Even with all of those inputs, it will be an imperfect science, but players and parents should avoid fixating on what level they are playing during Stage 3. These are not final teams. Think of Stage 3 hockey as fun and competitive 4 on 4 hockey. You can also think of it as a really long Rep pre-tryout evaluation or prolonged House League assessment skate. If/when we get to Stage 4 and more traditional House League and Rep teams are formed, no one will be able to say that their child did not get an extensive look from coaches.

We will attempt to place your child at a level that is appropriate for their skill level but there are no guarantees that we will be successful or that you/your child will be happy with the level. For example, just because your child played AAA last year in the G, there is no guarantee that they will have a spot in our top Rep Development tier. However, please keep in mind, during Stage 3 we are playing fun, development 4 on 4, non-contact hockey. There is no AAA, AA, A, etc. There are just Rep Development tiers and, one could argue, really long pre-tryout evaluations. If your child is at the wrong level, 2 or 3 months of being on the ice 3 times a week will make that clear to all coaches. Then, if/when we move to Stage 4 and there is some type of traditional tryouts for AAA, AA, A, AE, and MD they should end up in the right place.

The list is long and thorough. While there is no way to eliminate all risks, our club and the Town facilities will be ensuring that all Provincially required protocols are in place and, in fact, collectively, we will be going beyond what is required to keep players and volunteers safe. In addition to this, the OMHA has introduced a mandatory “Return to Hockey Safely” course for all coaches, managers, and trainers for this season. Nothing is more important than keeping our players, volunteers, and their extended families safe.

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Printed from oakvillerangers.ca on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 3:54 PM