Yesterday, Governor Tim Walz announced his latest Executive Order, which included an announcement that youth sports would be allowed to resume on Monday, January 4 with practices only.
While we are pleased that we have a date that hockey and other youth sports will be allowed to resume, we are disappointed that our teams will be forced to wait another two weeks to return to the rinks.
We understood the need for the original four-week pause, and suspended all hockey activities as well as encouraging the reduction of numerous everyday activities so the spread of the virus could be curbed. Our members and the people of Minnesota delivered on those requests, helping to drastically reduce new daily cases and the positivity rate, with the goal of returning to the activities they love.
The delay of the return to youth sports is another setback to so many young players who significantly benefit from the social and emotional elements of sports. It also puts additional strain on our volunteer run community associations. Further, we are frustrated at the inconsistencies in these orders.
During the pause, we continuously worked on policies and procedures that would allow for the safe return of youth sports on December 19.
We sent a proposal to the state asking for the opening of rinks on December 19, and allowing teams to hold local practices only through January 1, 2021. We also made clear that we would implement new rules that included the closure of all locker rooms, the requirement of all participants to arrive fully dressed without equipment bags and reducing the amount of spectators at practices to zero, with the exception of one guest for players in the Mite/8U classification.
We felt that these steps, combined with other mitigation strategies and mandates already in place, would provide for the safest possible return of our players to the rinks.
On a positive note, we have already had discussions with the State of Minnesota on when game play will be allowed to resume, and we will be aiming to make that announcement prior to Christmas.
We want to take this time to thank all of our members who used the last four weeks to stay home and abide by the orders from the state of Minnesota. It is our promise to you that we will continue to advocate for our players and their safe return to the rinks for practices on January 4, and games not long after.