The Greater Springfield League is an affiliate of Massachusetts Hockey, Inc. and USA Hockey, Inc.We are dedicated to our mission and purpose of developing and fostering among our members, supporters and teams, fair play and sportsmanship, a general community spirit, and promoting interest in the sport of amateur youth hockey in the greater Springfield area.
Every year when we get the first large snow storm there are questions around the GSL Inclement Weather Policy. You will see the policy below.
All cancelation of games including inclement weather shall be at the direction of the League Scheduler. If a team chooses not to attend a game due to inclement weather, the team’s Association shall have three (3) days to appeal to the Scheduler or Executive Board. This would allow time for the Scheduler to determine whether other teams traveled to or from that area on the same day.
It is very rare for games to be cancelled. If the rink is open then we play. Rinks usually only close when the Govenor closes the highways. In the last 10 years games have been cancelled once. Don't call the rink they will only tell you they are open. In the event we did have to cancel and you are signed up for notifications we would send notification through our website to your email and phone via text.
Obviously safety is the most important issue. If you feel that the weather is not safe to travel then you should choose not to attend your game. If you do decide not to attend a game you should always notify the League Scheduler that you will not be attending the game.
Teams should note that if games are not canceled and they don't attend they may be subject to the forfeiture. Additionally, games may not be rescheduled depending on availability and other factors.
I want to take a brief minute to remind all players, parents, and coaches of the need for face coverings at all times in the rink and on the ice. It is not ideal but it is necessary to comply with rules to continue playing hockey.
There have been a few situations with individuals not wearing masks, not wearing them properly, and not wearing compliant masks. This can cause unecessary altercations between parties.
When you wear a cloth mask, it should:
Cover your nose and mouth,
Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
Be secured with ties or ear loops,
Include multiple layers of fabric,
Allow for breathing without restriction, and
Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
While the Commonwealth appreciates the efforts made by various manufacturers to address the reduction of respiratory spray from players, further review of various products has led to clarified guidance indicating that the “plastic shield” style products do not comply with the CDC guidance for face coverings. As such, both the Bauer Concept 3 Splash Guard and the Tektor 1.0 and 2.0 shields are NOT able to be used in lieu of a face covering. The CCM “Game On” mask has been deemed acceptable and can be used to comply with the face covering requirement.
It is not officials job to be the "mask police". The GSL expects every participant and spectator to comply with the guidelines of the Commmonwealth, the League, and the Facility.
Simply, if we want to continue playing we need to all be in this together.
Individuals from out-of-state have a path to play on Massachusetts-based teams.
There has been a lot of confusion and questions asked about the current (and recently updated) guidance from the Commonwealth and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). Today, a 7-state pact was announced effectively prohibiting team travel between the states. In addition, players who reside outside of Massachusetts but are registered and rostered with Massachusetts-based programs/teams now have a path available to participate with their program. We hope to clear up some of the confusion and provide a better understanding of the expectations outlined in the guidance.
Can my Massachusetts-based team play a game or practice at a rink that is not located in Massachusetts?
- No. Any Massachusetts-based team/program is currently prohibited from leaving the state to participate in any sports-based activity (this includes games, practices, off-ice or skills).
Can my team play a game in Massachusetts against a team from out of state?
- No. Any Massachusetts-based team/program OR facility owner that hosts an out-of-state team at a Massachusetts facility risks facility closure or suspension of the program’s/league’s practices and/or games.
Can a player who resides outside of Massachusetts play for a Massachusetts-based team?
o If the state in which the player resides is ON the Restricted Travel list, the player may only participate with the Massachusetts-based program provided they are compliant with all aspects of the Massachusetts Covid-19 travel order. We strongly encourage and expect any Massachusetts-based program will keep a formal record of all occasions that an out-of-state player participates with said program. This information will be required to be provided upon request of any state authority.
o If the state in which the player resides is considered a Lower-risk State (per Massachusetts Covid-19 travel order), the player MAY participate with the Massachusetts-based program without restriction.
Can a player who resides in Massachusetts participate with a program that is not based in Massachusetts?
- The player is subject to the Covid-19 Travel Order in place at the time of travel AND any travel restrictions that are in place in the state that they are traveling to.
What determines if a program/team is Massachusetts-based?
- If the team registers and rosters players with Massachusetts Hockey OR operates under a Massachusetts business license, they are considered to be a Massachusetts-based program, regardless of where the program may purchase their ice time.
What is my program required to do if we have an out-of-state player participating on a team?
Massachusetts-based programs must ensure full compliance with the Travel Order. The program must ensure that every player or coach complies with the travel order and keep detailed records of each occasion that the player enters the state to play with their team. If they do not, then the program risks fines and/or suspension of operation by the state.
My child lives out of state and travels into Massachusetts for school. Are they still subject to the travel order guidance?
- A student from another state being educated in Massachusetts can participate in school affiliated sports in Massachusetts and is not subject to the travel order but only for school-related athletics. They are not exempt from the travel order to play with a Massachusetts-based hockey program.
How many games can a team play in one day?
- Teams may play one game per day without any restrictions. Also, teams may play up to two games per day IF:
o The SAME two teams play each other. In this situation, the games may be spread out (ie: 10am and 3pm) but must be played in the same facility.
o Two DIFFERENT TEAMS may play each other ONLY in BACK-TO-BACK scenario outlined in the current EEA guidance.
If a player is rostered more than one team, can that player play more than one game in a day?
- The guidance is silent on this particular topic. We do not encourage players to play multiple games in a day at this time. The ultimate goal is to limit Covid-19 transmission opportunities and players running all over the state certainly does not help achieve that.
What is an approved face covering?
- Massachusetts guidance asks that people follow the CDC guidance for face coverings. There is not a formal “approved” list of face coverings, but it is our understanding that hockey-specific products that are specific to reducing the spread of droplets that could contain the virus are acceptable. Examples of these products include: CCM “Game On” mask, Bauer Concept 3 Splash Guard (only when used in conjunction with Bauer Concept 3 mask), and Tektor d1.0 and 2.0 shields. This in no way implies that these products are 100% capable of preventing transmission of Covid-19. Similar to any face covering, there are limitations to their overall effectiveness level.
If a player has a documented medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering, how is that handled?
- Per Massachusetts guidance, facility operators and/or activity organizers are allowed to require official documentation from a medical professional before the player is allowed to participate. Coaches should keep a copy of the documentation and provide it to opposing teams and officials prior to competition.
Commonwealth issues updated guidance pertaining to rinks & hockey
Attached, please find the updated guidance from the Commonwealth (CLICK HERE FOR LINK) regarding youth sports and specifically ice rink facilities and youth/recreational hockey in Massachusetts which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 7, 2020. It is important that the hockey community understands and follows this guidance. Those not following the guidance are subject to fines and shutdowns from the various state agencies at the local level and any widespread disregard for the guidance puts the entire sport at risk for a much longer stoppage, which is not what anyone wants.
While we are highlighting some of the changes to the guidance below, we strongly encourage everyone to read and understand the expectations.
FACE COVERINGS: Players, coaches and officials are required to wear face coverings at all times. This includes during play. Acceptable face coverings should follow the guidance issued by the CDC (CLICK HERE FOR LINK). Products that are specific to hockey (CCM “Game On”, Bauer Concept 3 Splash Guard, etc.) are understood to be acceptable. (p.6 of Guidance)
MODIFICATIONS TO SPORT: Previous modifications that required the elimination of deliberate contact are no longer in effect. This means that body-checking is allowed as permissible by USA Hockey playing rules. (p.4 of Guidance)
SPECTATORS: Facilities (at their discretion) now have the ability to allow two (2) adult chaperones and siblings per player into the facility provided they follow social distancing guidance and the facility remains below 50% of capacity. (p.7 of Guidance)
CONTACT TRACING: Both the facility operator (rink) AND the activity organizer (entity that purchases the ice time) are responsible for complying with any and all contact tracing requests. Failure to do so will result in fines and/or shutdowns of those who do not comply. (p.9 of Guidance)
MULTIPLE GAMES/TOURNAMENTS: Teams are limited to one game per day unless games are played back-to-back in a multi-sheet facility and the facility has adequate transition space for players and spectators and there is no break between games. (p.6 of Guidance)
TRAVEL/OUT OF STATE TEAMS and PLAYERS: Facilities may only allow Massachusetts-based teams and Massachusetts-based participants to participate in Massachusetts-based events held at Massachusetts-based facilities. Any Massachusetts-based athlete that chooses to leave the state to participate in a sports event must comply with the COVID-19 Travel Order issued by the Commonwealth before returning to work, school or public events. Any Massachusetts based team that chooses to leave the state to participate in a sport event or any facility/program that hosts an out-of-state team at a Massachusetts facility or allows an out-of-state player to participate on a Massachusetts-based team risks facility closure or suspension of practices and/or games. (p.9 of Guidance)
LOCKER ROOMS: Locker rooms are to be closed until further notice. Facility operators will ensure that they are not open or occupied. Players are strongly encouraged to arrive dressed in their equipment and facilities will have socially-distanced space set up where players can put on their skates and other equipment prior to taking the ice. Each facility will have a traffic flow pattern specific to their set up. We encourage facilities to share this information with programs and coaches in advance of an ice session as well as posting online in conjunction with their league partners. (p.10 of Guidance)
TRANSPORTATION: If carpooling to an event (which is strongly discouraged), all parties must wear face coverings. (p.11 of Guidance)
We remain in constant communication with the Commonwealth and will provide updates to the hockey community if there are any changes or updates to the attached guidance.
We are excited to see the rinks reopen their doors tomorrow morning and have the kids back playing the game that they love. While people may have concerns or opinions about some of the new guidance, please understand that these are the rules that the Commonwealth has set and we are all responsible to stay within the framework provided. If there are any concerns or reports of non-compliance, people are encouraged to report it to the either the local board of health or Department of Labor Standards. They can be reached at
or (508) 616-0461 x9488.
Kevin Kavanagh Bob Joyce
Executive Director President Massachusetts Hockey Massachusetts Hockey
We continue to regularly monitor concerns associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) and wanted to take a moment to provide an update as it relates to USA Hockey activities, including upcoming District and National tournaments at all levels.
Our top priority, as you know, is the safety of everyone involved with USA Hockey. We’re extremely fortunate to have Dr. Michael Stuart from the Mayo Clinic as our chief medical and safety officer, someone who brings vast experience, connectivity across the country and world, and an even hand in helping guide our organization on safety-related issues.
Practice frequent and meticulous hand-washing with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and/or sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow
Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
Quarantine anyone who is sick (players, coaches, parents, roommates)
Ensure safe food sources; thoroughly cook meat and eggs
Handshake lines after games should include fist bumps with gloves on
Use individual water bottles; do not share them
Towels should not be shared in any way
While the coronavirus is without question a significant concern, as of today, all activities within USA Hockey will go on as planned. It is important to note, however, that the situation is fluid and we will provide updates as warranted.
It is worth noting that as of today, there are no directives from the CDC to avoid domestic travel, limit large groups or cancel sporting events.
Thank you for your diligence in following the guidelines above and continuing to stay engaged with this important topic.
If you purchased a Promasque product with a HECC label affixed to it, please contact our legal counsel, Ryan W. Miosek at
or call (607) 282-4447.
STATEMENT FROM PROMASQUE REGARDING CERTIFICATION – FEBRUARY 2020
Dear Pro-Masque Customer:
February 20, 2020
As many of you are aware, Pro-Masque has manufactured top quality goalie masks in our family for over fifty-five (SS) years and the quality and safety of the Pro-Masque products have always been our top priority. During this time, I am very proud that our products have been safely utilized in competition from youth hockey to National Hockey League All-Star participants.
While the significant majority of our products are not manufactured for use in youth or USA Ice Hockey sanctioned competition, there have been some of our products that were. In order to properly utilize our products for these competitions, it is necessary for those products to be Hockey Equipment Certification Council ("HECC") certified. While Pro-Masque products have been previously certified for such use, Pro-Masque products are not currently certified by HECC for youth or USA Ice Hockey competition.
As a customer of Pro-Masque who may have purchased our product for use in youth or USA Ice Hockey competition, I wanted to personally advise you of these circumstances and ensure that you were aware that the Pro-Masque product purchased is not currently HECC certified for the same. Further, any HECC label that may have been affixed to this product should be removed. My best wishes for continued safety and success, on and off the ice, and I apologize for any confusion or inconvenience.
DECLARATION OF PLAYER SAFETY, FAIR PLAY AND RESPECT
USA Hockey is committed to creating a safe and fair environment for all participants. Respect for the game, opponents, coaches, and officials is a critical part of that environment and it covers several different aspects of sportsmanship and fair play. This Declaration of Safety, Fair Play and Respect will guide a change in culture as to what is considered to be acceptable/unacceptable body checking and competitive contact at all levels of play.
The Declaration clarifies and updates existing rules/definitions to emphasize the key points to more clearly outline what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Below is a video that shows examples of actions deemed "acceptable" and "unacceptable" to help illustrate expected behavior.
What is the Declaration of Safety, Fair Play and Respect?
When the USA Hockey Board of Directors ratified the Declaration of Safety, Fair Play and Respect in June of 2019 its intent was to create a culture that eliminates: 1) hits to the head, 2) hits from behind and 3) late hits.
The onus on modifying the culture lies with everyone in the game, from players, coaches and officials to media, parents, fans and administrators.
While the focus of the Declaration is largely around changing the culture and mindset involved with body checking, there is also language that deals with unsportsmanlike conduct centered around banging on the boards to celebrate a body check. Below this video of Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey, commenting on the Declaration, there is a document that clarifies the intent around what has been a long-standing part of the USA Hockey rulebook.
Also, in regard to body checking, the video below shares examples of acceptable and unacceptable body checking to help educate all involved in the sport as to the intent of the Declaration, which is focused on player safety and moving our sport forward.
It should be noted that USA Hockey supports legal body contact and body checking. The culture shift is an on-going effort to eliminate 1) hits from behind, 2) late hits and 3) hits to the head by more clearly defining body checking .
It is recognized that this is an effort that will take time and focus that in the end will make the game better for all involved.
Kevin Margarucci, USA Hockey’s manager of player safety, answered questions about the changes, how they’ll be implemented, and how they’ll enhance the youth hockey experience.
Q: What's new with the Concussion Management Program?
A: Beginning with the 2019-20 season, any athlete held out for concussion evaluation or who has been diagnosed with a concussion must provide a written Return to Play form from a qualified medical provider allowing them to return to any training, practice or game activity with no restrictions. The parent must sign the form and the coach must also sign the form acknowledging that they received it.
Q: What do parents, coaches, managers and volunteers need to know about the Return to Play form?
A: The form will be available online in April for the new registration season, and it will be required starting with the 2019-20 playing season. The form can be printed and filled out, and then must be signed by a qualified medical provider. The parent and coach must then sign the form. It should be kept with the team coach or manager. We are working on a system where the forms can be filed with the district player safety coordinator and we can begin an injury database for concussion incidents. The data will be de-identified for privacy and HIPPA compliance. I should note that beginning with the 2019-20 season, a new volunteer position called Player Safety Coordinator will be implemented in each district (see more information here).
Q: Who counts as a qualified medical provider that can sign off on Return to Play?
A: That is defined differently in each state statute as it pertains to concussions. This is an area where the district player safety coordinators will work to clearly identify those health care professionals in each state who can legally clear a player to return after a concussion.
Q: Has USA Hockey been trending in the right direction with its emphasis on concussion prevention, management and return-to-play protocol? How will this be another step forward?
A: Our concussion management program has always been updated based on the latest research and recommendations. It also aligns with the 2017 Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport from the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport in Berlin. Many state statutes pertaining to concussions require written return to play. Some of our districts and affiliates already require written clearance for return to play. This latest update aligns all of USA Hockey with this written return to play requirement and provides a standard form for use by all.
Q: Is the culture surrounding concussions making progress in youth hockey?
A: I believe so. The awareness and recognition of concussions has grown by parents, coaches and players. The mantra, ‘When in doubt, sit them out’ is a guiding principle that has taken hold in our sport and something we will continue to reinforce. And a relatively new initiative through the Concussion Legacy Foundation that we’ve supported is called Team Up, Speak Up. It’s focus is to let players know it is OK to, and that they should, speak up for a teammate who may have a concussion and report to a coach, parent, doctor or athletic trainer. It’s great to see the progress we’ve made, and together we will continue to affect positive change related to the overall safety of our game.
Women and men used to gaze up at the stars, awed at the sight and size of the universe, much like Detroit Red Wings fitness trainers used to be in awe at the sight and size of Brett Hull's butt during his final Motor City days.
My understanding of the sky's map is limited to the Big Dipper (good nickname for Buffalo's Tyler Myers, by the way) and the constellation Orion. Orion is located on the celestial equator and can been seen across the world, much like Pat Quinn's head. Its name, Orion, refers to a hunter in Greek mythology. Since my late teenage years, whether I am in Mingo Junction, Ohio, or Vancouver, British Columbia, I always look up and locate Orion. It's my satellite to home and youth.
I first became aware of Orion from the now bankrupt movie production company Orion Pictures Corporation, which made movies from 1978-1998. I remember the company's animated intro prior to the start of a movie: stars from the constellation would twirl into the letter "O" before the entire word "Orion" was spelled out.
It seemed as if 46 percent of movies produced in the late '70s and early '80s, my HBO sweet spot years, were produced by Orion. I am sure this number is probably much lower. "Back to School," "10," "Hoosiers," "Platoon," "No Way Out" and others all began with the animated Orion logo. I would like to publicly thank the now defunct movie company and HBO for my astronomy acumen and the indelible image of Bo Derek jogging on the beach with wet, braided hair. ("Before the Internet, there was HBO." Now there is a slogan to believe in.)
Today, kids, teenagers, adults and Sean Avery don't so much stare up to the trees, clouds, airplanes, stars and 6-foot-9 NHL linesman Mike Cvik as much as they used to; now, most stare down at their cell phones and personal digital assistants (Jim Balsillie's PDA BlackBerry, yo). As a result of all this "looking down," we miss so much up in the heavens. We even look down at these things during dinner, hockey games and Heisman Trophy presentations. People even look down at their PDAs while they drive. Who needs a moon roof on a clear summer night when I can play Tetris on I-95 while I soar through the E-ZPASS lane?
This is my gigantic preamble to why you should one day sign up your young son or daughter to play youth hockey at a local rink near you. If nothing else, it gets them away from electronics and teaches them a small slice of humanity that they can take forward through life, a life with more heart and less battery power. The rink's cold robs electronics of their battery power and signal reception, anyway.
So, if you are a first-time hockey parent, or dream of one day spending more than $10,000 and sacrificing weekends for a decade of glamorous youth or "minor" hockey, here are 13 important things you need to know about the youth hockey universe -- and hockey in general -- to help speed up the assimilation process in joining the "Congregation of Independent Insane in the Membrane Hockey Community Union" or COIIITMHCU. If you move those letters around you eventually get Chicoutimi. A miracle from the star-filled heavens above. (I'm sure my fellow COIIITMHCU members will offer even more, and we can post next week.)
1. Under no circumstances will hockey practice ever be cancelled. Ever. Even on days when school is cancelled, practice is still on. A game may be cancelled due to inclement weather because of travel concerns for the visiting team, but it would have to rain razor blades and bocce balls to cancel hockey practice at your local rink. It's good karma to respect the game.
2. Hockey is an emotional game and your child has the attention span of a chipmunk on NyQuil. The hockey coach will yell a bit during practice; he might even yell at your precious little Sparky. As long as there is teaching involved and not humiliation, it will be good for your child to be taught the right way, with emphasis.
3. Hockey is a very, very, very, very difficult game to play. You are probably terrible at it. It takes high skill and lots of courage, so lay off your kid. Don't berate them. Be patient and encourage them to play. Some kids need more time to learn how to ride the bike, but, in the end, everyone rides a bike about the same way.
Your kids are probably anywhere from age 4-8 when they first take up hockey. They will not get a call from Boston University coach Jack Parker or receive Christmas cards from the Colorado Avalanche's director of scouting. Don't berate them. Demand punctuality and unselfishness for practice and games. That's it. Passion is in someone, or it isn't. One can't implant passion in their child. My primary motive in letting my kids play hockey is exercise, physical fitness and the development of lower-body and core strength that will one day land them on a VH1 reality show that will pay off their student loans or my second mortgage.
4. Actually, I do demand two things from my 10-year-old Squirt, Jackson. Prior to every practice or game, as he turns down AC/DC's "Big Jack," gets out of the car and makes his way to the trunk to haul his hockey bag inside a cold, Connecticut rink, I say, "Jack, be the hardest, most creative and grittiest worker ... and be the one having the most fun." That might be four things, but you know what I mean.
5. Your kids should be dressing themselves and tying their own skates by their second year of Squirt. Jack is 67 pounds with 0 percent body fat and arms of linguini, and he can put on, take off and tie his own skates. If he can, anyone can. I don't go in the locker room anymore. Thank goodness; it stinks in there.
6. Do not fret over penalties not called during games and don't waste long-term heart power screaming at the referees. My observational research reveals the power-play percentage for every Mite hockey game ever played is .0000089 percent; for Squirts, .071 percent. I prefer referees to call zero penalties.
7. Yell like crazy during the game. Say whatever you want. Scream every kind of inane instruction you want to your kids. They can't hear you. In the car ride home, ask them if they had fun and gently promote creativity and competiveness, but only after you take them to Denny's for a Junior Grand Slam breakfast or 7-Eleven for a Slurpee. Having a warm breakfast after an early morning weekend game will become one of your most syrupy sweet memories.
8. Whenever possible, trade in your kids' ice skates and buy used skates, especially during those growing years and even if you can afford to buy new skates every six months. Your kids don't need $180 skates and a $100 stick no matter what your tax bracket is. They will not make them better players.
9. Missing practice (like we stated above) or games is akin to an Irish Catholic missing Mass in 1942. We take attendance at hockey games very seriously. Last week, the Islanders' Brendan Witt was hit by an SUV in Philadelphia. Witt got up off the pavement and walked to Starbucks for a coffee, and then later played against the Flyers that night. Let me repeat that: BRENDAN WITT WAS HIT BY AN SUV ... AND PLAYED THAT NIGHT! Re-read that sentence 56 times a night to your child when they have a case of the sniffles and want to stay home to watch an "iCarly" marathon. By, the way Philadelphia police cited Witt for two minutes in jail for obstruction. Witt will appeal.
10. Teach your kids not to celebrate too much after a goal if your team is winning or losing by a lot. And by all means, tell them celebrate with the team. After they score, tell them not to skate away from their teammates like soccer players. Find the person who passed you the puck and tell him or her, "Great pass." We have immediate group hugs in hockey following a short, instinctive reaction from the goal scorer. I am proud of my boy for a lot of things, but I am most proud at how excited he gets when a teammate scores a goal. He is Alex Ovechkin in this regard.
11. There is no such thing as running up the score in hockey. This is understood at every level. It's very difficult to score goals and unexplainably exhilarating when one does. Now, if we get to 14-1, we may want to take our foot off the gas a tad.
12. Unless their femur is broken in 16 places, Mites or Squirts should not lie on the ice after a fall on the ice or against the boards. Attempt to get up as quickly as one can and slowly skate to the bench.
13. Do not offer cash for goals. This has no upside. Passion and love and drive cannot be taught or bought. I do believe a certain measure of toughness and grit can be slowly encouraged and eventually taught. Encourage your kid to block shots and to battle hard in the corners. It will serve them well in life.
Enjoy the rink. Keep it fun, keep it in perspective and enjoy the madness. In this digital world of electronics, you may find hockey to be the most human endeavor you partake in. Cell phones run on batteries. Hockey players run on blood. Blood is warmer. Welcome.
John Buccigross' e-mail address -- for questions, comments or crosschecks -- is email@example.com.
Interested in being a Hockey Ref? Pioneer Valley Ice Hockey Officials Association is looking for new Refs! Start at the youth hockey age levels working with experienced Ref's and work your way to higher level hockey. If you are interested Call Steve Sady (413)335-8416