Aeros Return to Hockey & Registration Update, News (Oakridge Aeros Minor Hockey)

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Aeros Return to Hockey & Registration Update
Submitted By MD Director on Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Our Board has been working hard to get Phase-1 of our season rolled out for our players. The upcoming hockey season is approaching very quickly and our Aeros players will be back on the ice by mid October.  

NOTE: Currently our U9/U8 ‘Novice’ division is full. Players registering for this age going forward will be placed on a wait-list.

REGISTRATION UPDATE:

We strongly encourage interested players to register NOW to better assist in planning. Kids may still register in October but we can and will close registration for certain age groups and players will be placed on a wait-list. Our MD team/cohort registration cut-off will be October 2 while CHL and IP registration will remain open.

Our Phase-1 will run for 10 weeks until Christmas Break (further info here) and the goal is to get players back being active playing hockey and having fun. We are working within OHF/Hockey Canada’s goal of having similarly skilled players playing together. 

We will fully adhere to COVID protocols and the OHF/HC RTP (Return to Play) frameworks. To reduce exposure tryouts/assessments will not take place prior to forming teams/cohorts of up to 20 players who will then be together for the 10-week Phase 1. We will form our up to 20-player team ‘cohorts’ based on info from last season, it may be imperfect but it will be the best that we can do within these constraints. Kids may move up or down age groups or age brackets could be combined as required.  

The 20-player limit be team/cohort is a Hard Cap and for budget reasons we wish to be at that number. This limit means having approximately half as many players on the ice at one time as we did last year for games and HL & ½-ice practices. Therefore, our ice costs have essentially almost doubled and ice costs consume the lion's share of our associations budget. Also, our volunteers run our large Oakridge Classic hockey tournament every year which generates a large profit used to subsidize all costs within our organization and because we will likely not be able to run that tournament this year our registration cost reflects this.

Our registration cost includes the Mandatory Hockey Canada insurance. This is a one-time per-player charge for 2020-21 and would carry over for Phase-2.

Once formed, our 20 player (18+2) teams are to remain within their group only for Phase-1.  Ice sessions will include hockey skill development, through individual & situational drills, small-area games and scrimmages; as well as additional game play as our health unit permits. (ADDED) U18 and U21 divisions will play inter squad scrimmages in lieu of formal development during Phase-1 of the season.

(ADDED) OHF has mandated no tryouts this fall and that players return to the team to be grouped based on where they played last year. 

Depending on the situation in late November/early December, tryouts/assessments could be incorporated as part of Phase-2 and if so teams could reset.

Our MD coaches have been meeting to work on next season. They will finalize the MD teams for our 10-week Phase-1 in early October.  

We are currently planning on having 2 MD Groups (MD1 and MD2) at the U8, (2013), U9 (2012), U10 (2011) age groups if registration numbers support it.

The up to 20 player MD groups will be formed for Phase-1 based on returning Players MD who were on the team last year. To fill the remaining spots we would do the following (in order):

1. Players that played Higher level within Hockey Canada
2. AP's on MD roster last season who have registered for MD Phase 1
3. Players who registered for MD Phase 1; based on info from their last seasons coach/past evaluations.

After this process has been completed, all MD players will be notified by their Coach and schedules will be available for families. MD team will have a third extra 'team paid' icetime weekly. Coaches will hold a Zoom parent meeting shortly after.
 
Following this our CHL and IP groups will be finalized by our Conveners and Coaches. Families will be notified of the group that their players been assigned to for Phase-1 and their schedule for the 10 weeks. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this process. 

Return To Play (RTP) Covid Protocols:

This will be a different season working within multiple frameworks that are designed with player’s health and safety in mind and to be sustainable by limiting risk. Please keep in mind that guidelines within the Alliance/OHF RTP may or may not be permitted in London based on the City of London and the Middlesex Health unit's regulations.

The GLHA return to play has been approved by our Governing hockey bodies and final details surrounding the protocols will be developed with the City over the next two weeks and we ask for everyone's patience.  If your children have been skating at area arenas in the past few months, you will likely be familiar with some of these protocols. This is a learning process for everyone involved so we appreciate everyone's patience as we navigate through this.
 
Here are some things to expect:

• Covid Self-assessment App or Form must be completed out prior to entering the rink. All participants/coaches/instructors are expected to complete Health Screening prior to each icetime. 
• All teams will require volunteers to track COVID-19 protocols per team
• 20 participants maximum with a maximum of 25 including instructors/ coaches. Ice sessions run 50 minutes max.
• 1 spectator will be allowed per household as of Oct. 19 2020.
• Teams will be asked to check in with a City of London employee when they are entering. Front door may be locked after teams enter the facility
• Players allowed into facility 15 minutes before time and must leave 15 minutes after coming off the ice. 
• Up to 10 players allowed into each of the dressing rooms. Families are asked to bring players dressed as often as possible to minimize time spent in our arenas
• Everyone must walk in with a mask, they must continue to wear the mask in the facilities. Players and the coaches (except IP coaches who are required to wear masks) will not be required to wear masks on the ice. Coaches must wear a mask on the bench. 
• Sanitizer will be provided by city staff for use upon entry and exiting of arena

IMPORTANT NOTES:

The Ontario government made amendments last week to "Unmonitored" activities and gatherings in Ontario.  Please note that Oakridge Minor hockey falls into "Monitored" activities and these recent updates do not affect our current return to play program. The OHF has developed multiple levels within Stage 3 as the Ontario Government Stage 3 will continue to modify over time. We are currently in the '3B' Stage.

Finally, to make Phase-1 a success we will need everyone to help out where they can and tie an extra pair of skates, organize players entering and exiting the arena or just share a positive vibe. Our Oakridge families’ teamwork and positive attitude will assist the players in having lots of fun while being active playing a great sport!

(Added) EQUIPMENT:

No additional equipment will be required this year. We will not be providing uniforms during Phase-1 to players U8 (Minor Novice) and older. Players will need to wear their own socks and jersey from past seasons and we encourage washing them after every session.

Players in U7 (Initiation Program) will be provided with socks and a Timbits jersey once we receive them.

Stay Healthy and Safe and see you at the rink soon!

(Updated: September 24, 2020)

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