ORHC COVID-19 Updates (Oakville Rangers Hockey Club)

PrintORHC COVID-19 Updates

Oakville Rangers Hockey Club
COVID-19 Updates & Return to Play Information

Hockey Canada Return to Play Announcement In the past couple of weeks we have seen some significant updates with respect to the economy re-opening in Ontario as well as Return to Play plans for hockey from both our National Body, Hockey Canada, as well as our Provincial governing body, the Ontario Hockey Federation.

Ontario Hockey Federation Return to Play Plan
On June 10, 2020 the OHF released their return to play plans for hockey in Ontario. Essentially, it is a stage by stage approach broken down into 3 phases. We are currently entering Phase 2, Stage 2 of the OHF Return to Play process. There is no specific timeline on when we will be able to proceed to later stages within Phase 2 as this is dependent on the Provincial Government mandates, public health stipulations and further direction from Hockey Canada.

Stage 2 of Phase 2 of the OHF plan allows for individual in-person on-ice training, virtual group training and in person on-ice group development programming (with no more than 10 people). In accordance to the Ontario Government’s Emergency order, the opening and controlled use of sports facilities can only be done so by sports who have a provincial or national sport governing body. While the OHF return to play plan allows for on-ice programming in this stage, the OMHA (who is our governing body) is not currently approving on-ice programming for its Associations. As such, the Oakville Rangers are not currently permitted to run any on-ice programming. The OMHA is expected to provide direction on when they will begin approving on-ice programming and the necessary requirements to obtain approval. Once this information is provided we will send out an update.

The details of the OHF Return to Play Framework can be found at https://www.ohf.on.ca/risk-management/return-to-hockey-covid-19-response. The OHF has released two documents as well as an FAQ Page to help explain the Framework and answer questions:

While these updates have been met with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm, they have also understandably been met with many more questions pertaining to how hockey will look over the next few weeks and months. We recognize this and have provided this very long update (we apologize in advance!) to try and answer some of those questions and provide all information that we currently have.

Player Registration for the 2020-21 Season
The ORHC has not yet opened registration for the 2020-21 season (to be clear, no one has missed registration ­čśŐ). Normally, player registration opens in April just ahead of the launch of spring tryouts. The ORHC opted to delay the opening of registration in April until such time that we knew more information on when the season may start, the structure and format of the season, and what additional measures would be necessary from a safety standpoint. Once this information is known we will be in a better position to determine the cost for registration and assess how much time will be needed to re-launch operations for the 2020-2021 season. There was also not a benefit seen in collecting money from Ranger families during these uncertain times when it is unclear on what programming would be offered in return. When registration is ready to be opened for the 2020-21 season, members will be given as much notice as possible, given all available information pertaining to the structure of the season, and will be given ample time to register their son or daughter.

Tryouts and Rep Team Formation for the 2020-21 Season
The rumour mill in hockey is rampant at the best of times, but has been brought to new levels during these unprecedented times. The topic of tryouts and team formation seems to be particularly popular which is why we have chosen to address it in the hopes of dispelling some of the rumours and misinformation surrounding it.

"Teams are being selected internally, there will not be any tryouts"
On May 1, 2020 the Ontario Hockey Federation issued a bulletin to all Minor Hockey Associations advising that there is to be no commitment to any players, in any capacity, at any level until hockey is reinstated. Any organization who is caught committing to players will be subject to fines and suspensions under the OHF tampering sanctions and any players involved in any such commitments will not be allowed to play for the teams involved. In addition to this, the distribution of rosters has been postponed until August 1, 2020 meaning no Minor Hockey Club has the ability to build rosters in the Hockey Canada registry at this time.

"I have a verbal commitment from a team for the 2020-2021 season, I won’t need to attend tryouts if they even happen"
Communications received from Hockey Canada and the OHF have given no indication that the elimination of tryouts for the 2020-21 season is being considered. It would be expected that if travel hockey is to resume for the 2020-21 season that tryouts would have to take place in some capacity in order to provide a fair and consistent process for team selection. Furthermore, attendance at tryouts is essentially the foundation for all player regulations within Ontario. Under these regulations, no player can be committed to or released without first attending tryouts. While there may be a sense of security in a verbal offer, without formalization through a signed offer of commitment (which are also not currently available) a verbal commitment can be broken by either the player or the Club without consequence.

Membership Survey and Feedback
On May 27, 2020 the ORHC conducted a comprehensive survey to membership with questions ranging from returning to play, to financial concerns and cost saving measures, to various seasonal structures. We received just under 1,400 responses and have provided the below updates based on the feedback received.

Health & Safety of the Players, Bench Staff and Officials
The health & safety of participants is at the forefront of all decision making processes and in the creation of protocols for returning to play and re-opening facilities.

Entering Arena Facilities:
While not confirmed, it is expected you may see some of the below measures when entering arenas which have become common practice in public facilities (grocery stores, salons etc.)

  • ´╗┐Designated times or appointments for when the facility can be entered
  • Limits on the amount of people who can be in the facility at one time
  • Temperature being checked before entering the facility
  • Traffic control measures such as entering and exiting through separate doors, directed flow of traffic on the floors, social distanced markers, zones/designated areas
  • Limited or restricted use of washroom facilities
  • Protective barriers in customer service areas and staff wearing PPE
  • Requirement for spectators to socially distance in the stands and possibly wear a mask/PPE

Dressing Rooms:
Dressing room use is not permitted within current provincial and regional mandates pertaining to facility use. While not confirmed, it is expected you may see some of the below measures when dressing room use is permitted.

  • ´╗┐No access to shower facilities (as is the current case with gym locker rooms)
  • Limit on number of players who can be in the dressing room at one time
  • Ideally each team would be given two dressing rooms in order to practice proper social distancing but many facilities would not be equipped for this. Possibility that players may have to change in shifts if it is not feasible for each team to have two dressing rooms.
  • Schedules will have to be adjusted to allow for frequent cleaning and sanitation of the dressing rooms.

Player and Bench Staff PPE
Enhanced measures to protect players and bench staff while participating in hockey is currently being explored and considered but it is tough to assess the safety risks of wearing PPE as nothing has been previously used or tested. This week Bauer announced the creation of PPE to be used by those participating in hockey. Descriptions below have been provided for information purposes only. The Oakville Rangers do not endorse or discourage the use of these products.

Bauer PPE

Bauer PPE


Waivers and Insurance
Hockey Canada’s Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance policy does not contain a Communicable Disease Exclusion and is not expected to contain one until September 2023 at the earliest. Therefore our participants will be protected against any claims pertaining to or stemming from a communicable disease.

Hockey Costs
The cost of hockey and addressing the financial barriers of participating are priorities not only being assessed by the Oakville Rangers but also at the Provincial and National levels as well. The membership survey posed questions relating to the cost of hockey in addition to providing respondents an opportunity to provide input or suggestions on hockey costs in general. Feedback on specific cost saving measures was provided and in addition, the cost of player registration and team fees paid above the registration fees were also topics brought forward for discussion.

Cost Saving Measures:
Multiple cost saving measures were presented in the survey for consideration with respondents being asked to select the two they would most like to see considered. While not wanting to see any cost saving measures implemented was the number two most responded answer, reusing last year's uniforms was the cost savings measure membership would most like to see considered. Other measures to be considered included reduced travel for games and tournaments and reduced apparel commitments (Pea coat, etc.). It is important to note that those who spoke to cost saving measures seemed to be speaking directly to the season post-COVID-19 and not as permanent measures. The ORHC will take this feedback into account when making decisions for the up coming season.

Cost of Registration:
The prominent concern amongst survey respondents was the cost of registration for the post-COVID 19 season, namely will the registration fee be less if it is a shorter or modified season. The seemingly logical answer would be yes (and would be our hope) but the more appropriate answer would be that it would be the ORHC's goal to not increase the cost of registration. We are anticipating an increase in operating costs as a result of increases in ice costs, insurance costs and costs associated with any mandated safety measures and social distancing.

Team Fees Above Registration Costs
This is referring to both the rep assessment fees paid by rep teams and the additional costs that house league players pay towards their team budget for things such as extra ice, tournaments and apparel. The ORHC currently has a stricter than most team budget policy which imposes the below limits

Coaches are also required to disclose the proposed team budget to parents at an organized meeting and the parents must approve the proposed budget. If these protocols are not being followed, we encourage our members to bring any concerns forward and they will be discreetly investigated.


When can we get back and what will the season look like?
This is by far the most asked question and probably the most difficult to answer! The ORHC at the Club level has done everything it can to prepare for the upcoming season at this point. The staff are anticipating and will be prepared for what is expected to be a very quick turn around once the green light is given to resume play.

At the National level, we have been informed that Hockey Canada has various seasonal models with different start times (September, October etc.). Specific details of these models have not been disclosed but it is anticipated that topics such as tryouts, season length and championships will be incorporated and adjusted in accordance to the start time.

How quickly we can progress through the stages and phases of the OHF return to play plan is dependent more on the regional health units and direction from the Provincial Government than anything else. The Rangers are committed to ensuring their membership will be as informed as possible through these unprecedented times. We have had representation on every call or meeting hosted by the OMHA, OHF and Hockey Canada as well as having representation on two committees specifically pertaining to return to play in Ontario. We will continue to keep you updated as things progress!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to Melissa Wolk, Director of Operations at [email protected].

Stay safe and stay well!

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Printed from oakvillerangers.ca on Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 12:23 AM