Hockey Quebec shows off what a return to the ice could look like

Minor Hockey

Hockey Quebec unveiled its six phase plan that could see the return of hockey for kids across the province, as long as public health officials give the OK.

The proposal by the Federation would see children get back to hockey-related activities in the form of off-ice training. Players and coaches would be allowed to gather outdoors for various exercises while maintaining the required two metre distance. Masks would be required.

Phase 2, which requires a green light from public health officials, would see players hit the ice for an evaluation and team balancing process. According to the Hockey Quebec release it would be a maximum of three on-ice sessions.

Teams will look very different to parents and players who were not in Novice last year because all teams will be considerably smaller. 

M9 (Novice) teams would be made up of six skaters and a goalie. For M11 (Atom) and older, teams would be eight skaters and a goalie.

Phase 3 would allow teams to hit the ice for practice and skill development, while Phase 4 brings back games.

M9 teams would play 3on3 half-ice games, older players would play either 3on3 or 4on4 games using a full ice.

Teams would not travel during Phase 4 and would play games against other teams within their respective association.

Traveling within a regional hockey association (Lac St-Louis, Montreal, Laval) would only be permitted during Phase 5.

The final phase, Phase 6, would see teams return to their normal size and playing 5on5 games.

Hockey Quebec has no dates for any phase. The entire plan is subject to the approval of Quebec Public Health and each region will be evaluated based on the pandemic situation at the time.

Tournaments are not allowed until Phase 6.

In order to reduce the risk of transmitting anything between players and coaches Hockey Quebec will implement several new rules:

- Each player must have all the necessary equipment and tools (water bottle, towels, tape) needed to play and everything should be clearly identified
- Equipment must not be shared
- Equipment must be cleaned and disinfected after each use

For coaches:

- A mask must be worn when behind the bench
- Each coach must have all the necessary equipment with no sharing between coaches
- Must use an electronic whistle to avoid expelling tiny droplets into the air

Officials: 

- Must use an electronic whistle to avoid expelling tiny droplets into the air

"We are aware that after this long break, young hockey players will be excited to return to their favourite sport. With this plan, we are offering young people the opportunity to resume hockey activities earlier while waiting for the return of hockey as we knew it before March 12," said Hockey Québec chief executive Paul Ménard.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Quebec regions differently, each region will be evaluated on their current situation before being allowed to proceed to a given phase.

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