Minor hockey association lays-out new rules

PORT HAWKESBURY: The Strait Richmond Minor Hockey Association (SRMHA) is relaying new rules approved by public health officials.

With the start of phase 2 of Nova Scotia’s re-opening plan and try-outs and practices underway, SRMHA president Angie Matheson took to Facebook last week to answer frequently asked questions.

“We incorporated the rebound plan from Hockey Nova Scotia, and we’ve met with the facility [stakeholders], for the Civic Centre, for instance, we met with them in August about the re-opening plan,” Matheson told The Reporter. “Phase 2 was starting October 1 so we met again with them. When public health guidelines changed, we met with them to figure out how we change these, who do we let in, how we let people in?”

Under the new rules, parents will not be allowed in the rink for practices or try-outs.

“I think the biggest thing is parents allowed in for practices,” Matheson told The Reporter. “That would be the only complaint. We really tried to limit the flow through the facilities during the week because there is only so much available staff and everything has to be cleaned. We have to go by the facility guidelines, we can’t just make up our own rules, we have to go by what the facility tells us because we’re their renter.”

As prescribed by public health, the stakeholders of the Richmond Arena and Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, as well as the minor hockey association, masks must be worn at all times and social distancing must be practiced.

Players in U7 and U9 will be allowed one parent each to tie skates and help with helmets, but the parents cannot remain at ice level and must go to a designated seating area. For other levels, parents cannot go down to the dressing room area before or after a game.

Players in U7 and U9 will arrive to the rink dressed, while players in U11 and above can get dressed in the dressing room. Players who cannot dress themselves should come dressed.

Players are asked to arrive 20 minutes before games, and spectators are asked to arrive five minutes before games. Parents and spectators cannot wait in the foyers or lobbies of arenas.

Players are only permitted to warm up in groups of 10 in the dressing room prior to games and there will be no showers provided in dressing rooms.

After games, players are asked to exit the facility in 15 minutes and spectators in five minutes.

The decision to allow people to go back outside after entering will be facility-based.

There will be 102 spectators allowed at games. Each player will be permitted four spectators for home games and two spectators for away games.

Spectators are required to sign-in when entering arenas and those who stay to watch the next game will need to sign-in again.

No food or drink can be taken into rinks, but 50/50 tickets can be sold.

Groups of up to 10 can sit together and masks must be worn at all times, whether seated or standing. Seating will be marked in each facility.

Those who want to volunteer will need to undergo a vulnerable sector check, will have to take a Return to Play COVID-19 course, as well as complete the Respect in Sport for Volunteers program found on the Hockey Nova Scotia Web site.

The walking track at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre will be closed during games and washrooms will be open at all facilities.

Those who do not follow the rules will be removed from the facility and suspended from all minor hockey events.

With Richmond Arena opening between October 19 and 24, and league play starting in November, Matheson is cautiously optimistic there will be a hockey season.

“What we have done is we have only required half the registration be paid until January,” Matheson added. “People are uncertain what’s going to happen and people were saying ‘should I register my child, should I not register my child’ but our registration numbers are really good.”