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: Do kids have to be fully vaccinated to play hockey?
A: No. Members under 18 years of age do not need to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus in order to participate in a Hockey Manitoba/Hockey Canada sanctioned program/event in Manitoba.
Q: Do I have to be vaccinated to watch my kid play hockey?
A: Spectators 18 years of age and older are required to show that they are fully immunized in order to attend a Hockey Manitoba/Hockey Canada sanctioned program/event in Manitoba. Spectators that are under the age of 18 years old do not have to be fully immunized in order to attend a Hockey Manitoba/Hockey Canada sanctioned program/event in Manitoba but must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult (18 years of age and older).
Q: Are face masks mandatory for the 2021 – 2022 season?
A: Yes. It is mandatory for players, coaches, officials, off-ice officials, volunteers, parents, and spectators to wear face masks when entering and exiting facilities for Hockey Manitoba- sanctioned activities. Face masks must also be worn in all common area including dressing rooms. Athletes, coaches, and officials DO NOT have to wear face masks while on the ice or participating in physical activity in a designated exercise area. Coaches are required to wear face masks on the bench, but not on the ice during practices. Spectators are required to wear face masks at all times in facilities, aside from eating and drinking.
Q: Will tournaments be allowed this year?
A: Yes. Teams will be permitted to participate in tournaments within the province as of September 1, 2021. Currently, no teams will be accepted for tournament play from outside of Manitoba prior to October 1, 2021, at the earliest.
Q: Will travel be allowed this year?
A: Currently, Hockey Manitoba teams will not be permitted to travel outside of the province until October 1, 2021, at the earliest, unless participating in regular season play. Hockey Manitoba will be accepting travel permit applications as of September 15, 2021.
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: Is off-ice team training permitted?
A: Yes. Team off-ice training is permitted based on facility protocols. Teams must practice proper hygiene and physical distancing at all times. Face masks may be removed while participating in off-ice physical activity in a designated exercise area.
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: 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.
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 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.