On behalf of myself and the Board of Directors we sincerely hope this letter finds you healthy and safe. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact our lives and of course our hockey season, we wanted to reach out to give some direction and updates for plans we have been working on to start the 2020-2021 season.
- Fredonia State University has closed the rink to any and all outside groups. They will not be leasing ice so we will not start our season in Fredonia for the first time since 1984. However, we have worked with the Northwest Arena in Jamestown to put contingency plans in place should such an event occur. Our 2020-2021 season will start in Jamestown and we will try to make that as consistent and normal as possible. We are currently working on times for each age group so parents can plan on some kind of consistency.
- Jamestown ice is considerably more expensive than ice in Fredonia. For years we have been very financially responsible and saved emergency funds to use in such an event. With this being stated, we will hold the line on registration fees. Last year’s fees will remain in effect through the 2020-2021 season. Even with these unforeseen expenditures, your NCCYHA will remain financially secure.
- We will try to keep ice times very close to last year. Although the day and time may change from last year, we want kids to have as close to the amount of ice sessions they previously had (we will be trying to be as close as possible). We may also try some special venues to make the season more exciting (if available) such as a few games at an outdoor rink or the HarborCenter, etc.
- Please register your child as soon as possible so we may complete team planning. We do not have an exact start date but will inform parents immediately once it has been established. We do have a refund policy should something drastic happen during the season. Your Board of Directors is here to help and work through any unfortunate situations.
- Safety and protection guidelines have not been fully established yet. We do know as of today, there will only be a maximum of 25 persons on the ice at one time. This includes the coaching staff and players. No more than one parent will be allowed (per child) to be a spectator (for practice and games). All rinks will require parents and coaches to wear masks (off-ice) and will continue with social distancing requirements per New York State. Again, we will get more information out to parents regarding any special equipment requirements. Nothing has been formalized at this point from USA Hockey. Western New York rinks are extremely safe. Their requirements are extensive and are taken very seriously. Here’s what we do know:
• Families should be asked to minimize the number of parents/spectators that come with the player in order to limit the number of people in the facility. Work with your rink partner to determine what is best for your facility.
• Communicate with families to make sure they’re aware of the facility’s spectator rules around physical distancing.
• Notify and reinforce the message that players and coaches need to observe physical distancing recommendations while on the ice.
• Avoid utilizing benches or depending on local government regulations, work with your facility to determine appropriate protocol.
• Avoid drills that require players to stand in line.
• When designing practice, utilize station based practices and have players/coaches spread out to maintain needed physical distancing.
• Minimize chalk talk sessions where players could congregate.
• Utilize non-contact drills.
• Coaches need to be cognizant to avoid talking within close proximity of players’ faces.
• When leaving the ice, coaches could excuse players one-by-one giving appropriate time for each player to get off the ice. Coaches need to plan to leave an appropriate amount of time at the end of their ice session to complete the dismissal process.
• Encourage participants to minimize their time in or around the facility.
• Have them put on their shoes or skate guards so that they can leave quickly in the same marked common space.
• Remind players and parents are to follow physical distancing guidelines when leaving the facility.
• Players should disinfect helmets, sticks and skates after each training session.
• Wash cloths (jerseys, pant shells, socks and gloves) with high temperature after each training session.
- Each NCCYHA division may do something differently to keep their team informed and updated. Some teams are doing private dryland training sessions or education. Some are in need of waiting to see what the new guidance will bring. If you have not been contacted by your coach or manager in your respective division don’t be alarmed.
- We are not sure if Learn To Play Hockey (LTPH) will happen this year. The physical contact is greatest in this age group. More information to come.
- We do not anticipate Jamborees for Mites 8U or 6U this year season. We DO anticipate some home and away games to keep everyone excited to compete. We also anticipate house games as well, although they may be spread out to accommodate the 25 persons rule and social distancing requirements.
- New jerseys and number assignments can only happen after registration. We are not able to hold numbers or promise numbers. We also are not able to change numbers or trade jersey numbers at any time. Mites going into Squirts (10U) will only need the BLUE jersey and BLUE socks. PeeWees (12U) will need both BLUE and WHITE jerseys and socks. Once registered, you can contact Kevin Persch for further assistance on jersey ordering and jersey numbers firstname.lastname@example.org .
- New registration option. You may choose to register and pay for the whole season at once. You now have a new option for the “payments” option. If you select the payments option your credit or debit card will be charged each month for 6 consecutive months, (after the initial payment). This is different from the previous 4 payment breakdown.
- We have many returning coaches but always in need of more, especially in the Mites division. If you are a coach or want to become a coach, please start working on your USA Hockey requirements and clinics, SafeSport, and register on the NCCYHA website as a coach right away. This is something we need your assistance with promptly. Any questions can be directed to Mark Taylor, email@example.com .
The biggest takeaway from this communication. Register your child as soon as possible. Register as a coach as soon as possible, and continue to check your e-mail for future updates from the NCCYHA. Remember, we have a refund policy in our handbook and most importantly, we are all in this together. Let’s keep our spirits up and work through this tough time. Your kids are here for the love of the game and we can safely work together to get them back on the ice.
Thank you for your patience and understanding and please feel free to contact any Director if you need anything. Our contact information is on www.nccyha.com .
Shaun V. Fadale