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COVID Information:

 

As we all enter into this COVID period of hockey, here are some things to note:

 

1. Every Rink is Unique. Local Board of Health can modify what guidance from State and Mass Hockey.

We suggest coaches check each rink prior to going there what to expect.  

2. Team locker rooms are closed

3. Indoor common use areas (lobby , bleachers, restrooms, etc.) are open but social distancing is required.

4. Spectators are limited to one (2) parent/guardian/chaperone and siblings per participant up to 50% of the rink’s occupant capacity

5. Face covering is required for EVERYONE – participants, coaches, spectators, staff all the time.

6. Team benches are allowed to be used with 6’ distancing between players. Many rinks will expand benches using chairs outside the box. Coaches are responsible to organize the players for line rotation to minimize proximity as much as possible.

7. Only 1 player can use the penalty box at a time. If more than one player is serving a penalty the additional players all serve their penalty on the team bench.

8. We all need to avoid confrontations at the rink (on and off the ice).

9. Teams will not shake hands at the end of games.

10. Following the rules will help in letting us continue to play our great sport.

11. Coaches need to know and follow protocols. 

12. All players and Coaches must be properly registered and listed on the roster. Any player or coach not listed on the roster may not be allowed to end facility. Coach or Team Manager is required to have list of players and contact numbers.

13. Do not go to the rink if you are ill, have a cold, have a temperature greater then 100.4 F, cough, or similiar COVID-19 symptoms.

14. Any participants, players, coaches who test positive for COVID-19 must notify team and league officials and may not return to GSL until compliance is achieved with State and CDC guidelines. All players and coaches must be free of COVID symptoms for the past 14 days and have not been exposed to someone who has been ill in the last 14 days.

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2020-21 COVID-19 Game Cancellation Rule:

We expect all players, coaches, and spectators to participate only when you have no COVID-19 symptoms. In the event a player, coach, or spectator tests positive for COVID they must notify the rink, local association, and league. Those who test positive should not return to the rink or play until their symptoms have gone and they have tested negative. If necessary league games (as many as needed) can be cancelled without penalty to ensure appropriate quarantine and mitigation for spreading COVID-19. Games cancelled due to COVID-19 will not be rescheduled and no points will be awarded to either team.

Games cancelled for non COVID-19 related reasons (like weather, etc) will follow game cancellation policy.

 

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Additional information and resources can be found Mass Hockey COVID Resource Page: https://www.mahockey.org/hockeyresources

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Massachusetts Hockey does not have the governance to investigate or enforce state regulated guidelines in regards to COVID19. We are here to inform our membership of the information that is provided to us.
 
If you would like to report a location, etc. the contact information is listed below:
  • If you would like to report a sports league, team, business or workplace that is non-compliant with the Sports Guidance, please reach out to your Local Board of Health
     
  • After contacting your local board of health, you may contact the Department of Labor Standards (DLS) through their hotline: (508) 616-0461 x 9488 or by sending an email to  . DLS will call or email you if an investigation is determined to be warranted within 72 hours if an investigation is warranted.

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UPDATE ON YOUTH SPORTS GUIDANCE 11/06/20

By Mass Hockey11/06/20, 12:30PM EST

 

COMMONWEALTH ISSUES UPDATED GUIDANCE PERTAINING TO RINKS & HOCKEY

We have the updated guidance document listed below from the Commonwealth (CLICK HERE FOR LINKregarding 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  also expected acceptable. to meet the standards set by the CDC. (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 x.9488.

 

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OCTOBER 7, 2020

 

MASSACHUSETTS HOCKEY COVID-19 POLICY

Massachusetts Hockey, Inc. is committed to providing a safe environment for its participants/spectators, consistent with all applicable standards, mandates and best practices.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) has issued Workplace Safety and Reopening Standards for Businesses and Other Entities Providing Youth and Adult Amateur Sports Activities – Phase III, Step 1. These standards require that Minimum Mandatory Standards for Modification to Play be met to allow ice hockey facilities to operate and continue to operate.

Pursuant these standards, Ice Hockey has been designated as a Higher Risk sports and recreational activity. The standards include Social Distancing, Hygiene, Staffing and Operations, Cleaning and Disinfecting, and Protective Equipment and Facial Covering standards, there are Protective Equipment and Facial Covering for All Sports. There are standards relating to Protective Equipment and Facial Coverings that are specifically applicable to ice hockey games.

Pursuant to the standards:

Facial coverings must be worn by all participants except:

  •        During high intensity aerobic or aerobic activities, swimming, water polo, water aerobics or other sports where individuals are in the water; or
  •        When distancing of 6 feet or more is possible between participants whenever feasible; or
  •        For individuals that are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability

Otherwise, Activity Organizers must require facial coverings to be worn while engaged in an activity wherever possible.

Some sports by their nature involve intense aerobic activity throughout play. For these sports, it is required that players use facial coverings when possible, taking frequent breaks when they are out of proximity to other players using caution to avoid touching the front or inside of the face covering by using the ties or ear loops to remove and replace. For example, soccer players should have facial coverings with them at all times, and where possible play with the facial covering on, removing it for long runs down the field, for plays without close contact, and in the goal; baseball/softball batters must wear facial coverings while at bat; lacrosse or hockey players participating in face-offs must wear facial coverings. Participants for ALL SPORTS must wear facial coverings on the bench at all times and in any huddles or time-outs.

Coaches, staff, referees, umpires, and other officials are required to wear facial coverings and maintain social distancing of 6 feet from players, coaches, spectators, and other persons at all times.

Massachusetts Hockey, Inc. expects that all ice facilities, leagues, associations, coaches, referees, timekeepers, players, volunteers, parents and spectators, will abide by all government, USA Hockey and Massachusetts Hockey, standards, rules, policies and procedures related to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This encompasses all mandates, restrictions and standards issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including those issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts EEA in its Workplace Safety and Reopening Standards for Businesses and Other Entities Providing Youth and Adult Amateur Sports Activities – Phase III, Step 1, and subsequently issued Phases, Steps, updates, cancellations and/or revisions thereto.

While rink operators may bear the ultimate responsibility for the implementation of the applicable standards within their ice facilities, as a condition of their facilities being allowed to remain open, activity organizers, including coaches, teams, leagues and associations shall likewise be responsible for ensuring their members implement the Commonwealth of Massachusetts EEA standards and guidance during all hockey activities within any ice facility, including both on the ice and bench during games. The activity organizer, including coaches, shall be responsible for ensuring the standards are being followed on the bench and ice during games.

No player(s) shall be allowed to take a face-off if not wearing a face covering. Any player that lines up to take a face-off draw without a face covering shall be ejected by the referee from the face-off circle and another player shall take the face-off draw. Massachusetts Hockey considers a face covering to be a piece of Protective Equipment as described in USA Hockey Playing Rule 304. After the first ejection from the face-off circle, the corresponding bench shall be warned, and further violations of these standards may result in a penalty for an equipment violation pursuant to Rule 304(g)1 – Protective Equipment.

As provided on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' website

  •        If you would like to report a sports league, team, business or workplace that is noncompliant with the Sports Guidance, issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, please reach out to the Local Board of Health where the non-compliance occurred.
  •        After contacting your local board of health, you may contact the Department of Labor Standards (DLS) through their hotline: (508) 616-0461 x 9488 or by sending an email to  . DLS will call or email you if an investigation is determined to be warranted within 72 hours if an investigation is warranted.

 

1 Rule 304(g) All players must wear the required, or recommended, protective equipment in the manner for which it is designed. For violation of this rule, following a team warning, a misconduct penalty for an equipment violation shall be imposed.

 

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October 7, 2020

Dear USA Hockey Family:

We hope this finds you and your loved ones well and enjoying the Fall. It’s been a challenging time for all of us navigating our way through the pandemic, but the positive attitude of the hockey community has certainly been inspiring.

PROTECTING EACH OTHER
With the 2020-21 season getting up and running in many places across the country, we wanted to take the chance to reinforce the importance of following local and state guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a whole, our hockey community has done a terrific job in this regard, but we do get some reports of people not following guidelines. It’s important we all do our part and continue to make sure we wash our hands regularly, sanitize equipment, social distance and wear masks (and wear them properly) according to the guidelines.

To help ensure everyone has access to the benefits our sport provides – including physical, social and mental – we must remain vigilant in our efforts to minimize the opportunity for the spread of the virus in our hockey family. We understand that conditions and regulations vary across the country, and while we know frustrations exist, let’s continue to work together for the good of all.

TO OUR ADVANTAGE
While we know that there are no activities that are risk free as we navigate this pandemic, there are some key factors within our sport that contribute to safety. Consider:

  • Hockey players are covered in equipment head to toe (unlike most other sports).
  • Ice rinks have significant HVAC systems to regularly circulate fresh air into the facility.
  • USA Hockey provides a controlled environment with players having to register and those players rostered on a team.  It is known exactly who is on the ice; groups are together for the season; and there is no co-mingling.
  • Studies show players are within a six-foot radius of another player for less than three minutes per game. Players are on average on “immediate proximity” (actual contact with another player) for under two seconds per incident.
  • With the significant size of the playing surface and facilities, there are responsible ways forward to conduct the sport keeping social distancing and hygiene at the forefront.

MATERIALS TO HELP
In conjunction with input from a wide group of stakeholders, including medical professionals, affiliates, and our rinks partners, among others, USA Hockey has published Return to the Rinks Guidelines and Mitigating Risks Recommendations, along with other resources, to assist programs across the country in safely returning to the sport in relation to COVID-19. You can find all of our resources related to COVID-19 online at usahockey.com/playersafety.

Yours in hockey,

Jim Smith
President
Pat Kelleher
Executive Director