The OWHA has now released the return-to-play protocols for Stage 3. They are of the view that the Ontario Hockey Federation document we sent around a few weeks ago does not apply to girls’ hockey. There will not be mobility restrictions – girls can register with any team as usual and teams are not limited to playing with other teams in their public health unit (although it is preferable). You cannot, however, be rostered with two teams (i.e. one girls and one boys) as some have in the past. As usual, anyone who plays with a non-Hockey Canada (or “outlaw”) league after Sept 30 will be banned from all Hockey Canada activities.
There will be no tryouts. Instead, associations will assign girls to teams administratively. Girls will then be assigned to Groups and Extended Groups for practice and play. Groups and Extended Groups can include girls from more than one minor hockey association. Extended Groups have a maximum of 50 players – players can only be a member of one Extended Group and there can be no call-ups or alternate players (AP) from outside the Extended Group.
As of Sept 1, up to 30 participants (including instructors) are allowed on the ice for practices, unless a lower number is permitted by the facility (as Milton for example currently is). Physical distancing will be required on the ice for practices. After at least two weeks of development, Groups can play 3 v 3 or 4 v 4 with modified (i.e. less contact) rules which are still TBD (but will probably be the usual 3 v 3 rules) with other Groups within their Extended Group. There are to be no team gatherings outside of practice and game play, no overnight activities, and no league or tournament play.
At a time still TBD, the participant limit for practices will increase to 40 and 5 v 5 play with modified rules will be permitted. Extended Group size will be increased when and if the province allows. Eventually, traditional 5 v 5 hockey with league and tournament play will hopefully be permitted.
The Twisters are talking to neighbouring associations about making joint Extended Groups so hopefully the Rep teams at each level will be able to play each other as early as the beginning of October. For House League, Extended Groups will likely consist of a number of house league teams that will all play each other. We are still trying to get clarification from the OWHA about a number of details and figuring out what system of Groups and Extended Groups makes the most sense. A lot more details to come in the next few weeks as we get everything figured out.
If you have not yet done so, please make sure you indicate your intent to register at Register Now. The number of Intent to Play registrations we get in the next week or so will be very important for planning how to divide up the Groups and get ice time. The more girls who register, the better.
We are also busy working on getting all our return-to-play protocols in place and working with the towns to figure out what their requirements will be. There likely will be updated waivers to sign when you register and an app with a health check/attendance log you will need to complete before all practices and games (the towns may require separate health checks too). Details will be posted on the Twisters’ website as they get finalized.
OWHA Stage 3 Return to Play Protocols