In preparing the Return to Play (RTP) plan, Hockey Manitoba has worked in coordination with Hockey Canada, Sport Manitoba, and the Province of Manitoba and the plan was reviewed by a task team which included input from a variety of stakeholders.
As a reminder, the RTP document will remain fluid and flexible to accommodate the necessary changes from local health authorities. Below are answers to important questions that have been asked by our members to help coaches, officials, players and volunteers return to hockey safely.
March 5, 2021 Public Health Orders
Q: Under the March 5, 2021 public health orders, how many players are allowed on the ice for practices?
A: Groups of a maximum of 10 players will be able to participate in practices (excluding coaches and instructors) and must take reasonable measures to ensure that there is no interaction between different groups participating at the same time. A maximum of two groups of up to 10 players per group are allowed on the ice. The ice surface can be divided in half with one group on each side.
Q: Are face masks required in arenas under the March 5, 2021 public health orders?
A: It is mandatory for players, coaches, officials, off-ice officials, volunteers, parents, and spectators to wear face masks when attending Hockey Manitoba-sanctioned activities. This includes players and coaches being required to wear face masks at all times including while on the ice and on the bench.
Q: Does the splash guard that can be attached to the visor satisfy the requirement for a face mask or is one of the cloth attachments the only approved option?
A: A splash guard does NOT satisfy the requirement for a face mask. Players, coaches, officials, off-ice officials, volunteers and parents must wear face masks that fully cover the nose and mouth. The face mask should be made of at least 3 layers, including 2 layers of tightly woven fabric, with a filter or filter fabric between layers.
Please click here for Health Canada’s Guide on How to Safely use a non-medical mask or face covering.
Q: Are spectators allowed to watch practices, drills and scrimmages?
A: Yes. Spectators are limited to 25% of the usual capacity. All spectators must maintain at least two metres from other members of the public.
Q: Can teams use indoor dressing rooms under the March 5, 2021 public health orders?
A: Yes. Dressing rooms are limited to 50% of usual capacity or at least two metres separation, whichever is less.
Q: Is off-ice team training permitted under the March 5, 2021 public health orders?
A: Yes. Team off-ice training is permitted at 25% of facility capacity. Teams must practice physical distancing and proper hygiene at all times. Face masks must be worn at all times.
February 12, 2021 Public Health Orders
Q: Has the 2020-2021 hockey season been cancelled?
A: No. As of February 11, 2021, Hockey Manitoba has not cancelled the 2020 – 2021 hockey season. There are some Regions, Minor Hockey Associations and Leagues that have made the decision to cancel league play and playoffs for the remainder of the 2020 – 2021 hockey season but those Regions, Minor Hockey Associations and Leagues may still provide local programming (practices, skill development) as public health orders allow.
Q: How can Hockey Manitoba allow outdoor organized team practices/games and indoor individual one-on-one instruction when the Provincial Response Level is Critical (Red)?
A: Previously, Hockey Manitoba did not permit any Hockey Activity in Critical (Red) based on the Provincial Health Orders. Version 5 of the Return to Play plan allows teams and individuals to practice/play games outdoors and receive one-on-one individual instruction based on the Public Health Orders coming into effect February 12, 2021.
Q: Under the February 12, 2021 health orders, can my team schedule games on outdoor rinks?
A: At this time, exhibition games can be scheduled on municipal outdoor rinks. These games will require strict adherence to Hockey Manitoba’s 2020 – 2021 Constitution, Regulations and Rules of Competition Handbook as well as abide by Version 5 of Hockey Manitoba’s Return to Play Plan.
Q: Can teams combine rosters?
A: Hockey Manitoba regulations do not allow for teams to combine rosters. The only people that would be insured to participate with the team are the ones that are on the approved roster for said team. There may be situations in which teams lose players (quit/opting out of the rest of the season, etc.) and they need to combine to form new teams, but this would need to be handled administratively by the registrars of the MHA to make the appropriate changes to the rosters in the HCR. All changes would need to be made prior to February 25, 2021 as per the extended Hockey Canada regulations.
Q: Under the February 12, 2021 health orders, can we have a full team practice on an outdoor rink?
A: Yes, teams can have practices on outdoor rinks but they must abide by all the rules and regulations in Hockey Manitoba’s 2020 – 2021 Constitution, Regulations and Rules of Competition Handbook as well as Version 5 of Hockey Manitoba’s Return to Play Plan. Teams may be required to book outdoor ice with the local community centre/facility beforehand.
Q: Indoor rinks can open at 25% capacity and for one-on-one instruction only. Can I have 25% of my roster on the ice? What is the capacity per ice time (ie. Can we have more than one player and coach on the ice at a time offering one-on-one instruction? )
A: As per Version 5 of Hockey Manitoba’s Return to Play Plan, one-on-one instruction means that a coach can only work with one player. A maximum of 12 individuals may be on the ice (6 players, 6 coaches). If a team only has 3 registered coaches, then a maximum of 3 players can be on the ice with 3 coaches at any given time.
Q: Are masks required for outdoor games/outdoor practices?
A: Players are not required to wear face masks while on the ice engaging in outdoor games/outdoor practices but are required to wear face masks prior to going on the ice. Players can choose to wear face masks while on the ice engaging in outdoor games/practices but they should ensure that face masks are breathable and suitable for outdoor activity. Coaching staff are required to wear face masks at all times while on the ice and on the bench.
Q: Will Hockey Manitoba provide refunds?
A: Hockey Manitoba is currently working with Hockey Canada to determine how and when partial refunds will be administered. Hockey Manitoba fees only represent a portion of overall registration fees. Registration fees should be refunded to individual players and families through the appropriate association, league, or team.
The Communications Officer
Q: Is each team required to appoint a Communications Officer?
A: Yes. For the 2020 – 2021 hockey season, each team in Manitoba is required to appoint a Communications Officer who will be responsible for ensuring all individuals in and around the team are equipped with updated and relevant information regarding the COVID-19 health crisis. The Hockey Manitoba Communications Officer Toolkit clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Communications Officer and provides information to help guide the Communications Officer throughout the hockey season.
Q: When does the Communications Officer have to be in place?
A: If the Communications Officer has not previously been established, it should be in place prior to players returning to the ice. This individual will handle all the Return to Play and safety protocols related to COVID-19.
Q: Do teams need to track all persons in the facility/arena during practices and games or just players/parents?
A: Teams are responsible for tracking their own players. The facility/arena would be responsible for the capacity of the facility/arena. Hockey Manitoba has released the appropriate tracking protocols that all teams are required to follow.
Q: Who is required to keep a record of COVID-19 screening?
A: The team Communications Officer should ensure all players have completed the mandatory COVID-19 screening prior to attending and tracking attendance. Screening can be completed online at sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/ or in Interactive Voice Response (IVR) format at 1-877-308-9038. Attendance records should be kept for at least 30 days.
Q: How will information be sent to the communications officer on each team?
A: Minor Hockey Associations are required to collect the email information for each team’s communications officer. Important Hockey Manitoba information will be updated on the website and sent to associations as required. The communications officer should also be aware of any information communicated by the Province of Manitoba/Manitoba Public Health.
Q: What happens if a player tests positive for COVID-19?
A: If an athlete tests positive for COVID-19, Public Health will be in contact with the athlete, begin contact tracing and will advise them daily. After isolating for 10 days, a player who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be permitted to return if they have been symptom-free for 24 hours and have been approved by Public Health.
Hockey Manitoba Return to Play Phases
Q: Are tournaments allowed in Phase 3?
A: No, multi-team tournaments are not permitted under the current public health orders.
Q: Are out-of-province tournaments allowed?
A: Currently travel permit applications will not be accepted or approved.
Q: Who is checking facilities to make sure that the rules are being followed?
A: The safety of all members should be the number one priority of all participants and therefore a joint effort between user groups, members, and facilities is required. There is a level of trust and compliance to enforce regulations required by Hockey Manitoba, through Regions, Associations, and respective teams to follow the rules and ultimately Public Health and The Province of Manitoba for facilities.
Q: On a team with a full roster, can all players and coaches use one dressing room provided all players and coaches are wearing a mask?
A: Physical distancing should always be enforced in dressing rooms. If permitted, only team personnel will be allowed in dressing rooms (coaches, medical staff, and players). If a parent is required, only one parent per player will be permitted. No additional family members will be allowed in dressing rooms. Facilities may be required to limit their usual capacity in all areas, including dressing rooms based on public health orders. It is recommended that teams use two dressing rooms whenever possible to physically distance players based on facility availability or arrive dressed.
Q: With limiting arrival times, will referees be able to mandate an early start time?
A: The existing rule in most regions is that a game cannot begin more than 15-minutes prior to the originally scheduled start time. If both teams have arrived at the facility and are fully dressed and prepared to begin, the officials may begin the game early with the agreement of both participating teams.
Q: If spectator capacity is limited, how should teams communicate?
A: It is important that the team Communications Officer identify the protocols and capacity are before arriving at the facility to ensure families are aware of the regulations.
Q: Will Affiliate Players (APs) be permitted?
A: Under the current rules for our Phase 3 of Return to Play teams will be permitted to use Affiliate Players.
Q: Are masks required?
A: Yes. All participants including players, coaches, staff, volunteers, spectators, and officials are required to wear face masks in facilities where Hockey Manitoba-sanctioned activities take place.
Q: Are officials required to use different types of whistles (electronic or the new Caul)?
A: Officials will be allowed the use of electronic officials, but we do not require officials to have them.
Q: With respect to the hand sanitizer required on the bench, in dressing rooms etc. Will this be the responsibility of the team or the facility to provide?
A: On the bench and in dressing rooms, teams should provide hand sanitizer. Individual players may also have their own sanitizer.
Q: Are kids allowed to play multiple sports?
A: Yes. Hockey Manitoba has always encouraged players to participate in multiple sports as a part of our Long-Term Athlete Development model. Players should follow the respective RTP safety protocols of the specific sport.
Q: Will Hockey Manitoba handle any media communications at the Minor Hockey Association (MHA) level?
A: In the event that a situation occurs within a Minor Hockey Association (MHA) that garners media attention, the MHA can contact the Hockey Manitoba office for communications support.
Q: Will teams/players living near the borders be permitted to play in Manitoba?
A: Athletes living in communities on provincial borders may be eligible for participation within Manitoba pending approval from Hockey Manitoba. Athletes living in communities on the American side of the USA/Canadian Border will not be eligible for participation in Manitoba until the border is open for travel.
Q: Is there a scenario/situation identified that activities would be stopped? Or will this be continually monitored, and the call made when appropriate?
A: The Return to Play plan will be continually monitored by Hockey Manitoba and any decision to suspend or delay activities will be made by the Provincial Health Authorities in consultation with Hockey Manitoba.
Q: Is the team obligated to inform the facility staff immediately of symptoms so affected areas can be tended to?
A: Yes, staff should be informed and any person with symptoms should leave the facility immediately and isolate and follow the necessary protocols established by Manitoba Public Health.
Q: What if a U7/U9 player needs a car seat and therefore cannot arrive fully dressed?
A: Players will only be recommended to arrive fully dressed if it is safe to do so. The intent is to limit the number of people and time spent in dressing rooms in proximity to others.
Click HERE for the most up to date Return to Play information.