In preparing Hockey Manitoba’s Return to Play (RTP) plan for the 2021 – 2022 season, we have 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.
Q: What happens if a member tests positive for COVID-19?
A: If a member tests positive, Manitoba Health has established the following isolation guidelines (Please click here for a flow chart that explains what to do in each scenario in regard to isolation after a positive COVID-19 test):
- People who have tested positive and are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms need to isolate for five days from the date of their positive test. After five days of isolation, members must wear a medical grade mask in public settings (which includes on the ice for Hockey Manitoba-sanctioned activities) for five days and avoid any non-essential visits to high-risk settings (Hockey Manitoba sanctioned activities are NOT considered high-risk settings). If wearing a medical mask is not feasible while playing hockey, the individual should not participate.
- People who have tested positive and are fully vaccinated and have symptoms need to isolate for five days from the day their symptoms started or the date of the test, whichever is later. They must also continue to isolate until they no longer have a fever and their other symptoms have been improving over the past 24 hours. After five days of isolation, members must wear a medical grade mask in public settings for five days (which includes on the ice for Hockey Manitoba-sanctioned activities) and avoid any non-essential visits to high-risk settings. (Hockey Manitoba sanctioned activities are NOT considered high-risk settings). If wearing a medical mask is not feasible while playing hockey, the individual should not participate.
- People who have tested positive and are not fully vaccinated need to isolate for 10 days from the date of their positive test. They must also continue to isolate until they no longer have a fever and their other symptoms have been improving over the past 24 hours.
- Manitoba Public Health no longer notifies people if they have been identified as a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case. All cases should notify their close contacts, including household members. Effective Tuesday February 15, 2022, unvaccinated close contacts of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 will no longer be required to self-isolate.
Q: Are tournaments allowed under the current public health orders?
A: Yes. Tournaments sanctioned by Hockey Manitoba are permitted as of Tuesday February 8, 2022 as per the public health orders.
Q: Is off-ice training permitted under the current public health orders?
A: Yes. Team off-ice training is permitted based on facility protocols. Teams must practice physical distancing and proper hygiene at all times. Face masks may be removed while participating in off-ice physical activity in a designated exercise area.
Q: Do kids have to be fully vaccinated to play hockey?
A: No. Effective Tuesday February 15, 2022, members/spectators between the ages of 12 and 17 years old are NO LONGER REQUIRED to show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or a recent (within 72 hours) negative test result to participate in a Hockey Manitoba/Hockey Canada sanctioned program/event in Manitoba.
Q: Do I have to be vaccinated to watch hockey?
A: No. Effective Tuesday March 1, 2022, proof of vaccination requirements have been removed by the province.
Q: Are face masks still mandatory?
A: No. As of March 15, 2022, face masks are NO LONGER REQUIRED for Hockey Manitoba- sanctioned activities.
Q: Is travel allowed?
A: Yes however Hockey Manitoba strongly recommends that any eligible members travelling outside of Manitoba for tournament or league play should be fully immunized. Members returning to the province must follow all applicable provincial health requirements.
Q: Are there capacity limits in dressing rooms?
A: No. There are no capacity limits in dressing rooms but physical distancing of at least two metres is recommended.
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.
The Communications Officer
Q: Is each team required to appoint a Communications Officer?
A: Yes. For the 2021 – 2022 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.
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: For the 2021 – 2022 season, will teams be required to track players/parents in the facility/arena during practices and games?
A: No. Teams are NOT responsible for tracking players/coaches/parents. The facility/arena would be responsible for the capacity of the facility/arena.
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: 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 Return to Play teams will be permitted to use Affiliate Players.
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.