We hope you had a great new year celebration! As we prepare to get back on the ice this week, we wanted to reiterate the current guidance and rules to help us have a successful and safe continuation of the season.
The following is effective for MN Hockey Return to Play - Phase 4, which covers return to practice from January 4-13. Phase 5 will go into effect when games resume and we will communicate that guidance when it's available.
Quarantine Reminders and Updates
Although quarantines can be 7 or 10 or 14 days per the latest CDC guidelines, EVHA will most often opt for the 10 or 14 day quarantine as advised by MN Hockey. As with all cases, we will consult with MDH on the best plan and approach for each case. Please review the full “Managing Confirmed COVID-19 Cases” section on Page 3 of EVHA’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
You are asked to notify EVHA’s COVID-19 lead, Matt McCarthy, if you have an exposure, are in quarantine, or have a positive COVID-19 case regardless of the source to help us with planning and communications.
Masks Are Required On Ice
New evidence has shown that COVID-19 can be transmitted not only from “large” droplets that are managed with 6-feet social distancing with masks, but also Smaller droplets have that may linger in the air further than 6 feet. (See the below diagram provided by MN Department of Health and MN Hockey.) Because masks will help (although not eliminate) the risks from this type of transmission, MN Department of Health now requires masks be on at all times in the rink facilities.
The latest information on facemasks that we have is that the only hockey-specific mask that’s HECC (Hockey Equipment Certification Council) approved and also is approved as a face covering is the CCM Game On. MN Hockey has been frequently meeting with the MN Dept of Health and State Leaders to see if approval for the Bauer Splash Guard will be granted as the Bauer Splash Guard has been HECC approved. At this time it is NOT approved. We will update you if this changes.
For clarity, players can wear a regular mask/face covering – as long as it covers the mouth and nose. There is sometimes confusion on people thinking that the ONLY mask they can wear is the CCM Game On which is not accurate.
Players 5 and Under are not required to wear a mask while on the ice according the mask executive order. Kids 2-5 can wear masks, but they’re not required.
Mask Medical Exceptions
Per MN Hockey, a medical note is required for any mask exceptions. As an example, if a player has severe asthma (exercise or cold induced, or combo) they should consult their family Doctor or their specialist. If it is deemed by those professionals that their case is severe enough to warrant a medical exemption, they need to write a professional letter stating this is the case. A copy of this letter needs to be provided to EVHA (via email@example.com) and your team coach to show officials should it become necessary .
As it relates to Mouth guards, there is no change in the mouth guard requirement at 12U and up. Enforcement may be a little more difficult for officials but the rule has not changed. Custom fit mouth guards allow for ample breathing that should not be an issue. The quality of off-the-shelf boil and bite guards also allows for a better fit and breathing. The one issue players may have is if they wear a tethered mouth guard. There are masks out there by Shock Doctor that have an out flap that allow for an attached guard to be worn and still covering the mouth with the mask flap, however tethers are not required and could be cut off.
Reminder of other rules for Phase 4 – these are MN Hockey rules – failure to comply could result in sanctions against coaches, teams, or EVHA.
- Players/Coaches are required to wear masks in facilities
- 10/10 entry/exit: Individuals need to enter no sooner than 10 minutes ahead and leave no more than 10 minutes of their scheduled time. No lingering. (If rink guidelines are more restrictive, those rules should be followed. For example, Burnsville requires players to leave within 5 minutes of their scheduled time).
- Players must come in fully dressed – skates can be put on in designated areas (goalies should come mostly dressed and can put pads/skates on in the designated area)
- No Spectators are allowed – One parent/chaperone may be present for Mites/8U, but must stay 6 feet apart from non-family members.)
- Your team/pod must stay 12 feet apart: In other words, stay within your blue line and out of the neutral zone as much as possible.
- Water bottles should not be shared - water stations may not be available so bring a full bottle to practice.
While this season doesn't look like a normal one, it's fortunate that we are able to play again. As soon as we receive guidance on the next phase (games!) we will let you know!