In just a few weeks the 2021-22 hockey season will be underway. Players across the province will be on the ice for practices, tryouts, evaluations, games and tournaments. They will be joined by coaches, officials, safety staff, and other volunteers whose hard work ensure that opportunities to play hockey exist across Alberta.
From the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, Hockey Alberta established COVID-related plans for our sport based on the guidance and requirements of the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services. As Hockey Alberta prepares for the 2021-22 season, our planning continues to be based on current direction from those bodies. That also means we will adapt to any new directions that may be provided if circumstances change in Alberta.
Currently, the Government of Alberta has no Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) orders that place any restrictions on sport programming. Therefore, Hockey Alberta is preparing for a 2021-22 hockey season with few to no COVID-related restrictions.
At this time, there are no limits on the number of participants on the ice, use of dressing rooms, or access for spectators (unless other requirements are in place through the municipality or facility). Tournaments can be hosted, and Hockey Alberta is planning for the return of provincial championships in March after a two-year hiatus.
In preparation for the 2021-22 season, there is a lot to be done. Here are a few reminders:
- Member Partnership Presentation – On August 25, a Zoom presentation is being hosted to outline partnership opportunities for Hockey Alberta Members.
- Indigenous Hockey Summit – Hockey Alberta’s inaugural Indigenous Hockey Summit will be held August 27-28 via Zoom.
- Player Registration – All member organizations are currently open and seeking players (MHAs, Recreational Hockey organizations, Para Hockey organizations, Accredited Schools, Junior and Senior Teams).
- Coach Certification – Clinics are being scheduled, and registration occurs, through the HCR 3.0 platform.
- Officials Certification – Clinics are being scheduled, and registration occurs, through the HCR 3.0 platform.
- Tournament Sanctioning – Requests for tournament sanctions are now being accepted through the Centre Ice Portal. Sanctioned tournaments are listed on the Hockey Alberta website.
Hockey Alberta is excited to be planning for the 2021-22 season. But we also want to remind everyone of the ongoing need to be safe and vigilant. Throughout the past 18 months, everyone involved with our sport has focused on the health and safety of our participants. The health and safety of our participants remains paramount.
Hockey Alberta recommends the continuation of the hygiene and sanitization processes that became second nature to us last season. Hockey Alberta is not mandating vaccinations as a requirement to play hockey. However, the Government of Alberta and the Chief Medical Officer of Health have stated the importance of all eligible Albertans getting fully vaccinated as the most effective way in protecting yourself and others.
Finally, we ask everyone to remember that current plans could change at any moment (as we learned last year and even last week with the Government announcement on August 13), based on new decisions or requirements implemented by the Government of Alberta. As changes occur, and as hockey activities are impacted, Hockey Alberta will continue to work with the hockey community and our government partners to adjust and to ensure the safety of our participants is foremost as our sport returns for the 2021-22 season and beyond.
Hockey Alberta is ready and working with our Members and stakeholders, and we will provide regular updates and reminders, as we prepare for the 2021-22 season.