Hockey Return to Play Does Not Mean Buildings Are Open

Provincial Sport Organizations (PSO) Return to Play Framework Is NOT a Re-opening of Rinks 

TORONTO, June 19, 2020

The efforts of national and provincial ice sport organizations to be properly prepared to return to play once government and health authorities fully allow these types of activities is applauded and recognized by the ORFA has being proactive. As part of this return to play model is a coordinated communication with facility owners and operators who are ultimately responsible for whether a facility opens or not and under what operating conditions. 

A recent online presentation by the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) and their member organizations highlights the significant work that has been completed to date. Throughout the presentation the importance of respecting government and local authority controls is emphasized. More

Highlights of the OHF presentation includes:

  • Provincial reopening phases include: 1. Stay at home 2. Restart and, 3. Recovery.  The majority of Ontario is in the early stages of phase 2.
  • On May 18th, the phase 2 restart included an opportunity for some rinks to reopen should they chose to but with strict limitations that focused on elite or national sport athletes.
  • Building on information already in place, hockey organizations created a four (4) step plan to safely return to play that aligns with provincial government direction. 1. Individual small groups 2. Individual larger groups 3. Non traditional programs 4. Traditional programs – at the time of the presentation, as government does not permit indoor team sport competition; only training under specific conditions.  For most part, PSO’s are at phase 2. of their plans on June 12th and are allowing groups of 10 that are part of their organization to gather. The PSO’s further recognize that even though government and their organization may allow different phases to occur, this does not mean that facilities will immediately return to life as facility owners, municipal leaders or local health departments may have additional restrictions or operational objectives that may need to be met before their objective of return to play can be achieved. They also recognize that different provincial regional PSO representation may also have further controls, restrictions or directives that will require consideration.
  • The different return to play documents being circulated by PSO’s are best practice to inform their organization leaders, users, and partners of how they vision conduct of board of directors, coaching and support staff, players and those who enjoy the game. This information is not intended to undermine any facility directives or protocols but rather an attempt through open dialogue and partnership with the ORFA to align and support recommended best practices as we work through the details of ice sheet operations reopening.
  • The presentation re-confirmed the importance of a recommendation that ice providers receive (from the renter) both the Certificate of Insurance and the Certificate of Validation prior to confirming any ice rentals. These documents show that the program is properly sanctioned and authorized to return to the ice under the OHF/Hockey Canada.

Certificate of Insurance Sample   I   Certificate of Validation Sample 

The ORFA reminds members and related stakeholders that information shared by either our organization or PSO’s should be used as guidance and awareness resources to support each owners efforts to design a specific plan of re-entry and reopening of your facility(ies). The ORFA recognizes the leadership of all PSO’s in their efforts to include facility owners and managers in these early stages of their planning. This harmonized approach will help ensure that by working together we develop site specific plans that use the same core principles. Collectively, we have the same goal of returning to the rink. We look forward to working with all stakeholders toward this objective.