With strict rules in place, Loyalist Township says it’s time to play hockey

Click to play video 'Minor hockey returns to Loyalist Township in Amherstview' Minor hockey returns to Loyalist Township in Amherstview
Minor hockey will be different this year in Loyalist Township but the association will continue to do what's best for the players-coaches and officials.

Minor hockey associations in the Kingston area are getting ready to return to play.

The Loyalist Township Minor Hockey Association drops the puck on a new season this week at the W.J. Henderson Arena in Amherstview.

“Because of COVID-19, hockey is going to be different,” says president Paul Proderick.

“Teams are allowed only 10 players. We’re going to play three-on-three or perhaps four-on-four, depending on the age group. There will be no puck droppings, no penalties and we will only have one official.”

Proderick says the executive met with the local health unit and with the approval of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association, the association plans to open the rink for practices on Sept. 16.

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“Strict protocols will be in place,” Proderick says.

“Players will dress at home and won’t be allowed in the rink until 15 minutes before their ice time begins. Loyalist minor hockey volunteers will screen everyone who enters the arena. There will be only one companion per player.

Parents can watch as long as they practise social distancing. At the end of their session, the players will remove their skates and leave through another exit.”

Proderick says every team will enjoy six to eight weeks of practice. If everything goes as planned, the association will join three other organizations within Loyalist Township for competitive house league contests.

“We will join forces with minor hockey leagues in Napanee, Frontenac Township and Stone Mills,” Proderick says.

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“Small associations tend to hang together and help each other out. It allows the kids to travel a short distance and play against other teams. We’re staying within our health unit. That was a major stipulation from the OMHA.”

Proderick says the main goal is to keep the virus out of arenas and keep the players safe.

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In January, the association plans to re-evaluate the situation with hopes of getting back to a normal style of hockey.