I hope everyone is safe. We are finally starting to receive clarity around the steps to be taken to allow our players to return to the ice. There are still several unknowns, and we do not have firm dates related to when teams can return to the ice, but at this time, we now know the process the state is going to require us to follow.
As we have previously communicated, the Connecticut Hockey Conference (youth hockey governing body) allowed organizations to roster Tier I and II teams. From a Sharks perspective, that decision only impacted three (3) of our eleven (11) teams.
Until the CHC provides additional guidance, we are unable to move forward with rostering our CGHL teams. We understand that the CHC decision affects the majority of our players and are working hard to remedy the situation. We ask for your patience, and you have our commitment that ALL current Sharks will have a place to play next year. Once we receive approval to move forward, we will quickly communicate the team selection process, which will hopefully include tryouts.
We've worked closely with the CHC, USA Hockey, local rinks, State of Connecticut, and local health officials to ensure that we do everything possible to keep our players and families safe and healthy. The Sharks hockey operations staff and board of directors have been involved in a significant amount of planning regarding tryouts, team selections, summer skills, and the 2020-21 season, including multiple contingencies. Our goal is to be in a position to move forward safely and responsibly when the state and CHC allow us to proceed.
Phase 2 and Phase 3 State guidelines specifically mention sports clubs, gyms, and other entities, not hockey rinks. Several rinks are moving forward with opening (Northford and Newington) and have details on their websites. With that said, here is our interpretation of the hockey implications based upon the State's announcement:
We expect some local rinks to reopen on June 20
NO hockey games, practices, scrimmages, tournaments, or league play will be permitted
ONLY skill sessions with a max of 15 skaters, including coaches, permitted on each sheet of ice at one time.
Each rink will have strict guidelines regarding social distancing, staggered start times, locker room use, PPE, and other protective measures. We will publish the rink rules separately.
Partially dressing before arrival at the rink is recommended.
Expected to follow 4-5 weeks after the start of Phase 2
Phase 3 has not been clearly defined, but it is expected that team play would return in Phase 3
All of the above is predicated on positive Coronavirus progress with the knowledge that changes will be made quickly if there is another outbreak. The good news is that our players will be able to return to the ice for skill sessions at the end of the month. The downside is we still do not have definitive answers regarding tryouts, CGHL team selection, tournaments, and other team play activities.
Also, we will decide on the summer skill sessions over the next few days. Given the new rules limiting the number of players allowed on the ice, we are not sure if the financials will enable us to proceed. Look for a separate summer skill communication next week.
We will share skill session opportunities for our players as they arise. As always, please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.
President & Director of Hockey Operations