Hockey Canada has announced a return-to-play process after all of its events were cancelled in March.
When each of the 13 organizations across the country can return to the ice is still to be determined.
Hockey Canada says each member, including the Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA), can work with the local public health authority to determine when it is safe to return to the ice.
The SHA says it is preparing for when the government and health authority restrictions are lifted and rinks are allowed to reopen. Recreation facilities, like rinks, are in Phase 4 of Saskatchewan’s reopening plan, but there is no date set.
Hockey Regina started registration this week for the upcoming 2020-21 season, which begins in September.
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“We’re optimistic that there’s going to be some kind of hockey in the fall,” said Blair Watson, Hockey Regina executive director.
“We don’t know what it’s going to look like but we are saying register and as it dictates, we will adjust accordingly.”
Hockey Regina plans on issuing full refunds if the 2020-21 season is cancelled. It will also work with participants if a partial season is played, by pro-rating fees based on the amount of season that was played.
It is also looking into the possibility of starting the season later in the year to accommodate restrictions. It’s one of many scenarios the organization is working on, along with encouraging early registration.
“We can’t sit and do nothing and sit and wait and then come back and say, ‘Oh, we’re ready to go, you’ve got two weeks to get prepared,’ and we just can’t do that, so we’re pleasantly optimistic,” Watson said.
Once rinks are open across the province, Watson believes many protocols inside them are sure to change to keep with the physical-distancing guidelines. But he says it’s too early to tell what that will look like.
“There will definitely be changes on how we do things, even if it’s somewhat back to normal,” he said.
“There will definitely be some procedures that will have to be changed. We’re fully expecting that. What they will be at this time, we’re unsure, but we’re not naive enough to think we’re going to go back to the way it used to be.”
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