The following are protocols developed for ice hockey at one major hockey venue in NYC. The content is based on currently required public health protocols. The content is not necessarily the opinion of this author. Still, these guidelines should be read to understand how some ice rinks are dealing with the Covid situation.
Coaches, Parents, Guardians, and Team members all need to be aware of these protocols.
The benefit of publication here is to offer a basis of consistency across many rinks as local health departments seek some precautionary measures at rinks, and the cooperation of coaches, parents, guardians, and team players.
COVID-COPING HOCKEY OPERATING GUIDELINES FOR COVID-19
Before any in-person programming, notify participants about the cleaning process being implemented at the rink and also by coaches and administrators.
Host an online meeting with the families to run through plans and allow them to ask questions as it relates to:
- What they can expect
- Planning for the first session
- Precautions being taken to keep the rink clean and safe
Share the facility’s protocol for pacing and limiting the number of patrons entering at one time
Communicate and follow the guidelines for the number of people allowed to be in the rink and on the ice.
Participants with risk factors or illnesses should not attend in-person training and ice sessions.
Participants with symptoms or signs of illness are strictly advised not to enter the premises and to seek medical assistance.
A coach should be prepared to require that a player exhibiting signs or symptoms of illness will need to leave practice (this applies in the same way as a suspected concussion).
Programs or coaches can send a short one-page flyer based on CDC medical recommendations about expectations and self-monitoring for illness symptoms. The players should stay home if they have any symptoms and that coaches will remove players if they exhibit any symptoms.
Patrons must register and pay online before arriving. No rink personnel will be available in the facility to receive any admission payments.
Players will not be penalized for missing training sessions.
Rink will ensure that appropriate infection prevention supplies (i.e., hand sanitizer, facial tissues, facial coverings) are present in multiple targeted areas.
The rink will post approved signage reminding people of social distancing requirements and other appropriate COVID-19 precautions.
Players are not required to wear masks while engaging in training sessions. Still, they must wear masks while entering and leaving the facility.
Coaches must wear masks whenever they are within 6 feet of a player. We expect coaches to maintain 6 feet distance except under unusual circumstances that may require closer contact, such as if a player is injured or needs help with equipment.
Arriving at Training Sessions
Each session will have a designated time for arrival. There will be a 15-minute time period that players will have to arrive. If players miss their time slot they will not be allowed into the rink they will have missed the session.
Coaches and players must answer COVID-19 questionnaire and have a temperature check.
The number of participants will be limited to 10 players and 2 coaches at any one time.
Players need to bring and label their own water bottles and towels. No sharing of water and towels.
Players must have all the necessary equipment to participate.
The rink will not be giving or lending any type of equipment. Players may not lend or share equipment with each other.
If a player does not have all of their equipment, they will not be allowed to participate and must leave the area to wait for pickup or equipment drop-off.
Locker rooms will be not be used for dressing. Players must arrive dressed in full equipment, including skates if possible.
Players who must use the toilet facilities will use the ones in the locker room, not the restrooms in the main part of the building. No lining up at the door to the locker room.
The locker room will be cleaned after each practice if used.
We will have chairs set up at a social distance for putting on and taking off shoes/skates/skate guards.
Players will use the designated entrance into the rink building. Markers will be placed at the entrance at 6 feet intervals to help the players maintain social distance.
Parents should not accompany players to the entrance to rink. No spectators.
Parents will wait in their cars during practice.
Parents who have questions should use email or telephone. They will not be permitted to talk directly to coaches at the entrance or at training sessions.
Promote strict hand hygiene (hand-washing and sanitizer dispensers) before and after training.
Players need to be prepared to disinfect their equipment immediately after use.
Practices will involve only non-contact, non-competitive, socially distanced skills training.
Participants will not be dispersed through the facilities. Hockey participants will enter and depart directly into the rink and conduct all of their activities there.
Only one group of participants would be on-premises at the same time.
Players and coaches must observe social distancing recommendations while on the ice 6 feet social distance to be enforced at all times.
Avoid using benches.
There will be no games or scrimmages, only practice and skills sessions where social distancing will be adhered to.
When designing practice, utilize station-based practices and have players/coaches spread around to maintain needed physical distancing.
When conducting drills that require players to stand in line, use special care to maintain proper social distance.
Avoid chalk talk sessions where players could congregate too closely.
Utilize non-contact drills.
Coaches need to be cognizant to avoid talking within close proximity of players’ faces.
After Training Sessions
Participants should put on their shoes or skate guards using the same socially distanced chair they used at the beginning of the session.
Participants should leave the facility immediately after putting on their shoes or skate guards.
Participants should maintain social distancing while leaving the facility.
Players should disinfect helmets, sticks and skates after each training session.
Wash clothes (jerseys, pant shells, socks and gloves) with high temperature after each training session.
Once a session is finished, the rink will clean and sanitize all chairs, doors and other surfaces before the next session begins.