Updated: Nov 19, 2020
State Shuts Down Hockey
Nov 19, 2020
Effective Monday, Nov 23 all activities for all non-professional and non-collegiate sports will shut down until Jan 19. The governor annnounced the shutdown in his COVID briefing on Nov 19 (link below). That part of the briefing starts at the 6:20 mark.
CHC Update on Face Masks
Nov 17, 2020
At this past Tuesday’s CHC meeting, CHC member programs were told in no uncertain terms that the face coverings that attach to the helmet, cage, or shield do not meet CT Dept of Health mandates and CDC guidelines. Neither the Bauer nor CCM products are approved for use in games, with the exception of a documented medical condition. Players that are wearing these products shall be sent off the ice and asked to wear the “street masks” that they wore when entering the facility.
HECC Approved Spit/Splash Guards and Face Masks for Players
Nov 16, 2020
Today the HECC approved a set of spit/splash guards and face masks that do not invalidate HECC certification for helmets, cages, or shields. Both the Bauer Concept III Splash Guard and the CCM Game On face mask are on the list. (Updated Nov 17)
This is welcomed news from parents, players and officials alike.
Spit/Splash Guard and Face Masks for Players
Nov 13, 2020
(Updated Nov 16)
At a national meeting of district RICs on Nov 12, it was confirmed that a spit/splash guard attachment to a player's helmet, such as the Bauer Concept III Splash Guard, invalidates the HECC certification of a helmet unless it is reviewed and approved by the manufacturer and certified by HECC. No spit/splash guards have yet received such certification. USA Hockey's position on spit/splash guards is contained in this document. The document links out to the HECC statement on spit/splash guards and the certified equipment list. At the end of the communication from USA Hockey they state that a cloth mask that is not attached to the helmet does not affect the HECC certification. At this time, the only acceptable face mask for players is a cloth covering that is not attached to the helmet, cage, or full shield. (updated Nov 16) When/If some spit guards become HECC certified, the link above will be updated. This information was sent to all CHC member programs the morning of Nov 13.
This may be problematic for players with asthma, but at this time, those are the rules to be followed. If you receive push-back on this at any of your games, send them my way.
CHC COVID Guidance
Nov 11, 2020
The CHC has released it's guidance for COVID based on the governors's briefing from Nov 5 and the CT Dept of Public Health's updated sector rules for sports and fitness facilities from Nov 9. This guidance is effective immediately.
What it means to you:
(1) All officials must wear a face mask at all times during games - not just during face-offs. No exceptions. If you don't already have one, find a face mask that meets the CDC recommendations (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html)
(2) Players and coaches must wear face masks at all times during games. There is a section on rules and enforcement that you must become familiar with. I will send a follow-up email with what rule to reference if you have to penalize under these guidelines
(3) As in seasons past, we have encouraged you to have a brief conversation with the coaches asking if players are properly equipped. That guidance does not change. Since we cannot see mouthpieces underneath face masks, it is now important to have that brief conversation and ask that question during the pre-game.
CHC COVID Cover Letter - Nov 11
CHC COVID Guidance - Nov 11
CT Dept of Public Health Updated Guidance for the Operation of Interscholastic, Youth and other Amateur Sport Activities during the COVID-19 Pandemic
New England District status and officiating recommendations
Oct 18, 2020
Maine and New Hampshire have experienced total hockey shutdowns due to COVID. Maine was shut down for the previous two weekends and NH was shut down this past Thursday and will remain so for two weeks. These shutdowns have been driven by the states, each of which have more prescriptive COVID guidelines than Connecticut. Vermont is up and running, with coaches and players required to wear facemasks during game play. It is expected that officials will be required to wear facemasks during game play in VT as of the beginning of Nov. Connecticut seems to be the least restrictive of the New England District states. We are, as Chuck Wilkerson the CHC president said, open for business. However, Chuck did express that with the rising COVID rates in certain parts of the state, we may not be open for business for long without some concerted effort to minimize exposure and spread. My hope is that the state of CT will follow the lead of other New England states and become more engaged and more prescriptive with COVID related policies for youth sports. Lacking that, we will remain in this state of limbo where there are recommendations and suggestions but no clear cut mandates.
In order to help prevent the shutdown of hockey in CT, and until there are mandates from the state, here are two highly encouraged recommendations.
1. Use an electronic whistle whether or not you wear a face mask. When we blow the whistle, respiratory droplets are propelled at high velocity out of the whistle and into the air. If there are players, coaches, or other oficials in the vicinity then that increases their risk of exposure (see my email from Oct 11 for more info regarding close contact). E-whistles eliminate that vector. Contact me if you need help or information on acquiring an e-whistle.
2. Wear a mask. Hockey officiating is an aerobic activity and we know it is hard to breathe through a mask when hustling up and down the ice. Vermont officials have found that if they wear a neck gaiter then they can pull the gaiter up for faceoffs, pull it down during play, and pull it up again when play is stopped. The neck gaiter is a hybrid solution that will allow you to breathe during play and protect your partner and all other participants during stoppages.
We all want hockey to continue. If the officiating community in CT doesn't do their part to prevent the spread of COVID, we contribute to the risk of hockey being shut down for the entire state. Please do YOUR part.
Dealing with COVID symptoms and exposures
Oct 11, 2020
The following guidance should help you with the actions you need to take in dealing with COVID symptoms or COVID exposures.
- The key to the guidance is the definition of “close contact”. The CT Dept of Health and the CDC identify close contact as being within 6 feet of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 for a period of 15 mins or more, direct physical contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, or having direct exposure to respiratory droplets of someone diagnosed with COVID-19
- USA Hockey’s email from Oct 7 provides information on how much time players are within a six foot radius of another player while on the ice (less than three minutes per game). Extrapolating that to officials, the exposure time would also likely be less than three minutes for any individual player.
- An official can combine the CT guidance document with the data from USA Hockey to determine whether he/she has come in close contact with a player who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Please note that other states may have differing guidelines or interpretations of close contact. The guidance document applies only to CT.
- If you are experiencing COVID symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID, please contact your local officiating organization's president and scheduler to make the necessary schedule adjustments and to initiate notification to any affected parties.
Officiating Safely in CT
Sept 1, 2020
Follow CDC & WHO guidelines for wearing masks & social distancing
Rinks implement policies & procedures compliant with state’s sector rules (Go to CT Phase 2 Sector Reopening then click on Sports and fitness facilities)
On-Ice Mechanics, Policies & Procedures
- Pre-game “chat” with coaches is now a pre-game drive-by wave
- No post-game handshakes - make sure both benches know this before the end of the game
- Positioning along players benches - work the golden rectangle laterally to create distance between you and the players bench
- Drops - there is flexibility in puck retrievals this year. You may use the procedure where the official that fetches the puck drops it. BE SURE you are both doing it consistently and BE SURE you spot the faceoff for the teams
- Electronic whistles - highly recommended. Use them if you use a facemask.
- Facemasks & gloves - Facemasks are highly recommended. Do not use gloves. See https://www.usahockey.com/officiatingcovidfaqs.
- Fetching mouthpieces - there is no expectation that officials will fetch lost mouthpieces on the ice.
- Spitting - all CHC organizations have been asked to prevent players and coaches from spitting on the ice. Officials are held to that same standard.
The CHC published this additional guidance to member programs in June.
The State shutdown the rinks/facilities (not CHC, not USA Hockey). The State has provided the process to re-open. Therefore:
Rinks/Facilities have 100% control & responsibility for all activities on their properties.
CHC Member Programs/Associations must contact their respective rink management for all questions and guidance regarding COVID policies, procedures, best practices, etc., and what activities the rink/facility will allow.
Families/players must contact their CHC Member Program/Association leadership for all questions and guidance regarding rink COVID policies, procedures, best practices, etc., and what activities the rink/facility will allow.
The CHC expects that all ice rinks/facilities, leagues and Member Programs/Associations will abide by all mandates and restriction from the State of Connecticut, including those communicated by the Governor through Executive Orders/Sector Rules. CHC cannot respond to each and every instance of an actual or perceived violation, but reaffirms that it does not sanction activities that are conducted contrary to these mandates. Parents should not hesitate to question their local association representatives should they become aware of any activities that may be in violation of any mandate and report any violations of State mandates to the appropriate State Government authorities. The CHC is committed to providing a safe environment for its participants/spectators consistent with all applicable mandates and best practices.
The onus of understanding how each individual rink's policies and procedures impacts the officials lies with the officials. Some rinks may not have changing rooms and showers available. Some may limit how soon before a game participants can arrive. Some may have mask policies that differ from other rinks. Please check with either the rink or your local officiating organization to determine if there are special policies that will affect how to prepare for a game.