Hockey Canada is allowing its 13 regional members to work with local authorities to make final return-to-play decisions, with the timing of each return being based on the advice of the region’s government and public health authority.
In a statement Thursday, Hockey Canada said it has had ongoing discussions with the board of directors, its chief medical officer, the 13 members and public health authorities across the country about plans to get back on the ice.
“It has been determined that the best approach for a return to hockey in Canada is to allow each Member the opportunity to work with authorities in their respective regions to determine when it is safe to return to the ice in areas that fall under their jurisdiction,” chief executive officer Tom Renney and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer, said in a joint statement. “We expect the timing of each Member’s return to hockey will be different, but will be based on the advice of their government and public health authority.”
All Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities were cancelled across the country in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Summer programs and national team camps were cancelled through to Sept. 1, with some being held virtually instead.
Although there has been some progress with planning return-to-play protocols, Hockey Canada said it is not ready to return to the game across the country.
“As we have seen in respect to flattening the curve, the impact of the pandemic varies from region to region,” Renney and Smith said. “Permitting our Members the opportunity to decide on an appropriate return-to-hockey timeline will allow them to work directly with public health authorities to determine when it is safe to return while also implementing specific safety measures and rules within their associations and leagues.”
Hockey Canada also released a website with details about its Return to Hockey plan, featuring safety and protocols information and updates based on provinces and territories.
“Be assured, we continue to work on our multi-faceted return-to-hockey plan that includes health and safety regulations, communications and seasonal structure,” Renney and Smith said in a statement. “As with so many people across the country, we look forward to returning to the game when it is safe to do so, and we will support our 13 Members as we continue to work towards getting back on the ice.”