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Essex Minor Hockey prepares for return, amid rink repairs and COVID-19

by Adam Gault

The Essex Minor Hockey Association (EMHA) has released tentative plans regarding the resumption of play for the 2020-21 season.

  Currently, the EMHA is scheduled to begin the annual registration process on September 1, with a modified season that will have players only face other teams within a 50-person social bubble.

  “We all have to follow the basic rules that came out from the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) Return to Hockey Plan,” EMHA President, Shawn Carswell, explained. “We’re working with making a plan for a limited number of kids on the ice and safety protocols.”

  At this time, the EMHA is planning on having four to five teams per level with ten players on a team. This may change as the season moves along, and if play or health and safety plans are reassessed at the end of the calendar year.

  “They play and practice with each other the whole season, until December,” Carswell said, adding “[Pending] any changes in the status in the province.”

  Slated to begin shortly and lasting for an estimated 50-days, the Essex Centre Sports Complex will undergo major repairs, due to foundational concerns and issues related to the ice refrigeration systems. This will have the complex out of commission until mid-October at the earliest.

  The repairs will leave local organizations without a main surface upon which to play, and will have Essex Centre-based sports associations playing temporarily at other facilities in the municipality.

  “We’re working on getting the required ice we need,” Carswell explained. “Basically, working with the Town to get use of the Harrow Arena for Essex Minor Hockey. The goal will be to come back to Essex and basically play the rest of the season there.”

  While restricted play can resume at this time, provincial and municipal health regulations must be followed by staff and players while attending Town of Essex arena facilities.

  This will include arriving at the arena dressed to play, no showering, and the wearing of masks until it is time to hit the ice. 

“What we’re looking for is a season of safety, development, and fun,” Carswell commented.

  More information about the Essex Minor Hockey Association can be found at essexhockey.ca

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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