Letter from the WMHA, News (Windsor Minor Hockey Association)

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Letter from the WMHA
Submitted By Sergey Bogdanov on Thursday, August 13, 2020
Windsor Minor Families,

We would again like to invite you to register for the 2020-2021 season, if you have not done so already! Those who have registered prior do not need to register again. With recent developments and direction from the OHF, and OMHA, we would like to provide our members with some updates on the 2020-2021 hockey season. First, we would like to start by assuring everyone that the WMHA board has been working tirelessly to ensure we can offer a safe return to hockey framework. While doing this we have had to consider many factors such as health unit restrictions, provincial and federal rules and regulations, as well as varying facility rules. We still don’t have a complete layout on the season structure, so please stay tuned for updates as we will release them as we receive them.

The good news is, WMHA will be opening our registration to determine our ice requirements, our divisions, and participation for this upcoming year. The season will be starting as of September 7th in various capacities, and we will be using the graduated approach as mandated by the OHF. After reading and wrapping our heads around the OHF return to hockey framework, it is now our understanding that this is the absolute safest way to ensure our kids can get back to playing our great sport, building friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime, all while ensuring their absolute safety during this pandemic to which there is still no cure or vaccine for. 

The graduated framework will see kids skating in small training and development groups for the first several weeks. During these crucial weeks, and through the remainder of the season, we have contracted elite training coaches from Cadotte Hockey Academy, 519 Hockey, and Euro Hockey, with premier goal-tending instruction being offered as well. 2-4 weeks into the season, we can graduate to 3-on-3, and then 4-on-4 hockey. We can’t stress enough that this is the absolute safest way to get the kids playing hockey again. As much as we would all like to see our kids return to some normal sense of playing the game, there are just too many factors that would bring the skaters in recklessly close with one another. We cannot completely negate the fact that we still have to abide by the social distancing orders. 

Small group training will ensure that kids are practicing social distancing while on the ice, and will allow us to slowly allow both more skaters, and spectators in the facility as we progress with the hopes of no community cases in our association. If we can successfully do that, we can then allow the kids to play 3-on-3, which will maximize the amount of ice area to skater ratio, and the players will have to abide by modified gameplay rules. Again, if we successfully roll this phase out, and can do so with no community cases, then we can graduate to 4-on-4.
 
We truly believe that this graduated approach is best for our community, the people we serve, and most importantly, the participants on the ice. A slow and gradual return will let your kid adapt to the new normal until a vaccine is available. It will allow us as an association to move forward with our programming, and allow us to make changes on the fly. It allows us to gauge how these recommendations will translate from paper to practicality. We all have the same goal in mind, we all want our children to gain life experiences from hockey, have fun, be active, and to return to some sense of normal. The simple answer is we will return to normal, we just have  to make sure we all work together, exercise a bit of patience during these trying times and use common sense to not jeopardize anyone's health. 

Again, registration is now open for us to gauge the demand at each level, so please when registering choose the “cheque” option as we cannot collect any funds from new registrants. We will be working on a cost and season model in the coming weeks, so please check back to our website for new details.

We will provide further information in regards to registration costs, times and dates when we finalize our proposal for our safe return. We CAN guarantee hockey will happen, and we can ensure that WMHA will take every precautionary step to ensure we do so safely. Please be patient with us and we look forward to seeing you all in the rinks soon. Stay safe and stay well,

WMHA Board of Directors

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