Greetings to all the great hockey people from Port Alberni to Williams Lake to Surrey, Vernon to Haines Junction, Fort Nelson to Squamish and everywhere in between. I say "Hello" and hope this letter finds you and your families safe and doing well! It is now July, and for many in our community it is usually a countdown to the beginning of the hockey season.
At this time, I’d like to share with you some thoughts on the upcoming 2020-2021 hockey season.
Before getting to hockey, let me say, on behalf of the Board and all our friends and members, that we extend a huge thank you to B.C. Premier John Horgan and Dr. Bonnie Henry and all of their teammates. Any choices we have for hockey this year will be because of their leadership and careful decision making. I would also like to thank Michael, Tom, and Scott at Hockey Canada for their forward thinking and ongoing positive communication.
Let’s talk some hockey…
Our kids are eager to return to playing the game they love! We are working on behalf of our 60,000 members to make sure that we can return to play in a safe and responsible manner. This will require flexibility in programming at all levels and, together with Hockey Canada, we are providing guidance in our new reality.
Will there be hockey this year? So far, what we know and see points to a big ‘YES’!
We are encouraged with where we are today and expect to start programming in September. Getting hockey "up and running" will be different depending on where you live. Some regions and communities may be able to open before others. While some arenas are already open, others may reopen later than usual. We encourage MHAs to continue to work with your local arena staff on "Return to Play" plans that are flexible and open to solutions.
Given our current complex decision making climate, I would like to touch on the
idea of flexibility for a minute ...
In order to move forward, providing a range of flexible programming will probably find more solutions rather than problems. This may be the best time to look at creative athlete development options both on and off the ice. And we always need to remember ... we want to keep our game SAFE and FUN for everyone!
Recently, the Board of BC Hockey has put together a working group charged with providing guidance to MHAs for programming in this reality. We’re busy gathering "best practices" and input from Hockey Canada and using the significant resources within the province, as well as from staff at the BC Hockey office, to support your local "Return to Play" efforts.
So, look for additional assistance coming soon. Think creatively about athlete development and try to keep your options open when setting up your programs. Challenging ... YES ... but we've met challenges before and we can do it again. We really do owe this to our players, volunteers, families ... and everyone who loves our great game! Thank you and be well.
Yours in Hockey,