Return to Hockey Update, News (York-Simcoe Express)

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Return to Hockey Update
Submitted By Mercedes Ohayon on Friday, August 28, 2020
To all YSE members,  

As outlined at the online YSE Annual General Meeting two weeks ago, our association is working closely with the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF), the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) and our local centres to ensure a safe return to hockey for our players in September as per guidelines from public health and our governing bodies.  

It must be noted, that like all areas working to reopen following closures, including schools, the Return to Hockey process is very fluid and subject to change. It will require patience and adherence to these guidelines from us all to ensure we are able to move to more advanced stages of the plan as soon as possible. 


The health and safety of our members, and our surrounding community, remains the top priority for our association, and as such, we are strictly adhering to direction from the minor hockey governing bodies responsible for overseeing the Return to Hockey plan as well as Hockey Canada, the Ontario government, the York Public Health Unit (PHU) and, of course, our local facilities.


YSE has formed a “Back to Hockey committee to review, interpret and provide direction on the available and ever-changing documentation; the committee consists of YSE Board members, and Industry/Community advisors.

We are pleased to announce that YSE’s hockey programming, based on The OHF Return to Hockey Framework, will commence on September 21 after our players/students have had a chance to adjust to their return to school. The OHF Return to Hockey framework provides the outline for a phased approach to hockey within phased sections and stages. You can download the document here >>OHF Return to Hockey Framework << . (See page 8 for a summarized look at the different stages of the return framework.)

Beginning September 1, the OHF will move to Stage 3B. Following a two-week development phase for any new programs, Stage 3 Modified Programming will begin. Essential to the safety of participants, modified programming is Member Sanctioned hockey programs in compliance with the requirements of Stage 3 operated within the Minor Hockey Associations or the Member including game play, scrimmage in practice and team practice drills.

After a break from physical sport, modified programming encourages players to focus on developing hockey skills while being able to physically distance on the ice. Given those parameters, YSE will offer a program that focuses on getting back on the ice for fitness, skill development and fun.

At this stage, registration is limited to players who played with YSE during the 2019-2020 season (Players that were imports in the 2019-2020 season have the option to stay with YSE or to return to their residential association). The OMHA and OHF are determining potential exceptions to those guidelines and will inform member associations in the coming days.

Below is an outline of OHF Return to Hockey guidelines that YSE will be following. Coaches will provide a follow up communication to each team with their specific program outline.

Program Framework (Overview) per stage 3B (subject to change pending governing body direction)

·        September 21 start for on-ice program targeted.


·        Practice and game schedule to be announced in early September pending ice scheduling confirmation (YSE aims to provide 3 sessions per team per week made up of practices and games).


·        Divisions (bubbles) will be comprised with a maximum of 50 players. Players will not cross divisions/bubbles to follow local public health and safety protocols.

  • Modified 3-on-3 or 4-on-4 game play with no physical contact is permitted in addition to development sessions.
  • Rosters for games will consist of maximum nine skaters and one dedicated goalie for 3-on-3 or eight skaters and one dedicated goalie for 4-on-4. Bench staff will include one certified coach and one certified trainer.
  • Limited or NO spectators (depending on each facility’s restrictions)
  • No access to change rooms (players will come dressed (except for Helmet, Skates and Gloves) and socially distanced areas to put on skates will be provided).
  • Operational costs to run the program are being developed based on registration. Cost per participant will be communicated to each team in a follow up communication in early September (budgets are being constructed so participants will only have to cover hard operations costs – ice, instructor/trainer/on-ice official fees, etc.)
  • Safety protocols will be put into place and strictly enforced, including screening of all participants (players and spectators as per OHF and local public health requirements) prior to every game and practice, tracking all participants at each game and practice, and immediately notifying each member of any confirmed or suspected cases within their bubble.

These plans are subject to change as the stages and regulations of our governing bodies change.

As mentioned, follow up communication to each team with additional details will follow in early September, both from the coach to their respective team and from the association as updates are provided from our minor hockey governing bodies.

Thank you to all members for your patience as we work with our governing bodies, public health officials and local facilities to ensure a safe return to the ice for our teams. We look forward to keeping you updated as this process progresses.


York Simcoe Express Board of Directors, Coaches and Return to Hockey Committee

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