Open Letter From Hockey Canada, News (Unionville Minor Hockey Association)

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Open Letter From Hockey Canada
Submitted By Voula Bertsoulakis on Tuesday, May 19, 2020
First, and most importantly, to the front-line and essential workers who have gone above and beyond around the clock to keep Canadians safe – a simple thank you is not nearly enough for what you have done over the last three months.

Second, to our Members, partners, local hockey associations, volunteers and fans across Canada, thank you for keeping the spirit of hockey alive. Unprecedented times have called for unprecedented efforts at every level of the game.

As provinces and territories phase in a plan to reopen in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are questions about when hockey will return, and how it will look when it does. Hockey Canada and its Members are diligently working on a multifaceted return-to-hockey plan that will happen when, and only when, provincial and territorial governments and health authorities deem it safe to do so. This plan includes everything from health and safety regulations to communications, seasonal structure, customer engagement and national teams.  As the return-to-hockey plan progresses, it will do so at different speeds, and at different times, across the country, based on direction from health authorities. And the game will look different, that much we do know. We ask for patience as we continue to work towards ensuring hockey plays its role in bringing the sports community back. The health and safety of everyone involved in the game will determine when we return, not our desire to get back on the ice. When our country is ready, Hockey Canada will be ready. Until then, continue to follow the guidelines set by your provincial and territorial government to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Only by working together will we be able to make a difference and safely return.

Thank you for your passion and dedication to our game, and we hope to see you around the rink as soon as possible

Hockey Canada has developed a Return to Hockey framework that will review eight areas that have been identified as opportunities to improve or align our efforts with the customer experience at the grassroots level. Although each focus is unique in its challenges and solutions, there must be collaboration to ensure a shared outcome of a safe return to hockey.

Areas of Focus: 

  1. Customer Engagement: Hockey Canada is committed to gathering first-hand data and direction, directly from current and future players, coaches and officials, and grassroots organizers, to shape the Return to Hockey and future state of the game. 
  2. Regulations: Hockey Canada will review existing regulations and their impact on how and when we Return to Hockey; these will include transition regulations that may be required, taking into consideration timing, health protocols, and league and geographical structure. 
  3. Safety & Protocols: How & When We Resume Play – Hockey Canada will develop consistent and clearly-defined guidelines for returning to hockey for all Members, partners and leagues to follow to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants. 
  4. Officiating: Hockey Canada will review existing training and certification programs for officials to ensure a national officiating certification program that can be delivered consistently, safely and effectively from coast to coast to coast. 
  5. Coaching: Hockey Canada will review existing certification and training programs for coaches to ensure a national coach certification program that can be delivered consistently, safely and effectively from coast to coast to coast. 
  6. Seasonal Structure, Delivery Model & Registration: Hockey Canada will review the current seasonal structure, delivery model and registration process and make recommendations for post-COVID-19 adaptations, including but not limited to:
    • Contingency plans on possible Return to Hockey dates, including an evaluation of the impact on player pathways.
    • Modified programming required for adaptive seasonal structures (starts late, finishes early, etc.)
    • An effective delivery model for hockey post-COVID-19, including implications for local hockey associations, ice facilities, etc.
    • Current registration processes, including improving accessibility for all families.
  7. Events, High-Performance Hockey & National Teams: Hockey Canada will review and recommend a strategy to determine how future championships are conducted given the potential cancellation of summer camps and the possibility of shortened seasons. 
  8. Marketing & Communications: Hockey Canada is committed to communicating all nationally-focused developments to educate participants on when and how we will return to the game.
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