Welcome Back Hockey Families,

It’s going look and feel a little different, but we are excited to get going on another year of Crowfoot Minor Hockey.

Preparations are underway to get things put together for our evaluations process which we expect will get going on Sept. 8, after the Labour Day long weekend.

If you’ve had a chance to review Hockey Calgary’s Return to Play document you would have a sense for what our sport will look like this year, but I think every one of our board members have fielded a question or two on what things are going to look like this year so I thought it would be best to send you all a bit of description of what to expect.

One Sport Cohort

The Government of Alberta cohorting guidelines state “Athletes should not belong to multiple sports mini-leagues; they should select one sports cohort for the duration of Stage 2.” Within the Hockey Calgary program, we will follow these guidelines. Players, coaches, and referees will only be assigned to 1 cohort at a time. Families have choices. When making decisions, we ask families consider the health of all participants as it relates to their cohort involvement outside the Hockey Calgary program.

  • Sport Cohorts will not exceed more than 50 players and coaches. CMHA will NOT consider member or player requests to be placed into specific Sport Cohorts.
  • Sport Cohorts are defined as a small group of no more than 50 individuals who participate in the same sport or activity and remain together for the duration of Stage 2 of the Alberta Government relaunch.
  • Once declared, this group ‘MUST’ remain together for the duration of Stage 2 of the Alberta Government relaunch, unless participants enter a 14-day isolation period after which they can move to a new Cohort Group
  • If a player or coach is part of a CMHA Sport Cohort, you cannot then go and be part of a football, soccer or other sport cohort.
  • You can be part of one Sport Cohort and then be physically distanced for another sport. This will allow you to participate in CMHA Hockey and still attend extracurricular sporting activities, such as physically distanced power skating or skills-based training, provided these activities follow physical distancing rules.
  • Coaches must remember they can only participate in one sport cohort. This means you can coach within the Sport Cohort but you cannot participate in another Sport Cohort (i.e. men’s or beer league hockey).
  • Coaches can be part of a Sport Cohort and also coach another group, provided you are a physically distanced coach and designate yourself as such.

Season Breakdown

Development Season

The long and short is we will have an intra-association focus in the first half of the season. Players will be grouped into cohorts based on similar skill levels and will practice and play with that same group until the province moves to Phase 3 of their re-opening plan or until December when Hockey Calgary implements a 14-day break. It will be a skill- focused first half with games held within that cohort. Mini-teams will be structured to create parity within the cohort and may be switched up as required to create as competitive, and fun, an experience as possible. Our players will be playing with and against friends throughout the Development Season and those mini-teams can change as required in order to make this part of the season as enjoyable as possible for all involved.

We’re in unique times right now and this will be a unique format, but with your help we hope it will still be a big success. We all want to get back to “normal” but in the meantime we’re happy to get back on the ice and get our players back to the sport that they love.

Competition Season or Regular Season

Despite the intra-association focus of the first half, Hockey Calgary’s intention is to move back to a more normal second half where our teams play other associations. The best-case scenario is a complete return to regular hockey with regular-sized teams and games against associations from across the city. However, the alternative “Competitive Season” would mean we continue with smaller teams, but start cohorting with teams from other associations. In Crowfoot’s case that would likely be NW Warriors, Simons Valley and McKnight and it would mean the parity teams we play with in the first half would be replaced with a normal grouping of players ranked from top to bottom through the association. For clarity on that point (and for example’s sake only), in the first half Players 1 through 40 may be mixed up on mini-teams to create parity for the Development Season, but in the second half Player 1-10, 11-20, 21-30 and 31-40 will form teams to play similar groups from other associations.

Evaluations

Evaluations will start with physically-distanced skills sessions in all age divisions. The skills sessions alone will form the cohorts for the Development Season. Once the cohorts are formed we will no longer be required to maintain social distance on the ice so we will introduce game-play to complete our evaluations to be able to properly rank the players from top to bottom in their respective divisions. The change here is that there will be no movements upwards following the formation of cohorts, players will be compete for their ranking in the game play, but will not have the opportunity to move up (or down) between cohorts regardless of their game play.

While we recognize this is not ideal, we feel it will be the best compromise to our process because it will provide opportunity for both skills and competitiveness to impact a player’s placement for the second half of the year. U9, U11 and U13 age divisions will have three skills-based sessions and one game-play session. U15 and U18 will have two skills sessions and two game-play sessions.

What should I expect for evaluations?

  • Please ensure you complete the Health Check form (form will be emailed to all parents in a separate email before evaluations start) prior to arriving at the arena. Players will not be permitted inside the arena until the form has been completed and is on record with Crowfoot Minor Hockey Association.

 Please bring your child fully dressed to the arena and wearing a mask. For players who can’t tie their own skates inside the arena we ask that you come with skates and skate guards on. Please do not arrive earlier than 20 minutes prior to your player’s ice time.

  • As per Hockey Calgary rules we have shrunk the size of our skills-based groups and we have shortened the length of the ice times accordingly.
  • Due to the fact that the ice times have been shortened please DO NOT send a water bottle with them to their skill-based evaluations. We recommend that they hydrate prior to arriving and have a water bottle ready in the car for the ride home. We are trying to run drills as quickly as possible to allow smaller group sizes. Players will need to be able to gather their skate guards and masks quickly to allow for the next group to enter the rink. Once the players move into their cohorts for the game-play portions of evaluations, pre-filled water bottles will be allowed.
  • Upon arriving at the Crowfoot Arena you will find two tents prior to entering the lobby.  The first tent will help you check in and provide your current contact information in the case of an emergency while your child is on the ice.  The second tent will have your child’s clean, sanitized pinnie.
  • Once you have checked your player in, you can instruct them to go into the arena and a member of the evaluation team will be there to help them find a place to sit until they are on the ice. We have marked off seats that are socially distanced to make the arena safer.
  • While your child is on the ice please remain in the parking lot for them to complete their evaluation. If there is an emergency you will be contacted by a Crowfoot team member and will be asked to enter the arena to assist your child.
  • Once your player’s evaluation is complete they will return their pinnie to be cleaned and exit the rink out the sliding doors on the north end of the parking lot.
  • Please check the website 24 hours after your players ice time to see what their next ice time will be. The only way to receive this information is on the Crowfoot website under the Evaluation tab.

Spectators in the Crowfoot Arena

The Crowfoot Arena reopened on August 1 and has been fine tuning its cleaning and operations procedures since that time. Given the relatively limited spacing we have in our common areas it was decided that spectators would not be allowed in the arena at this time. That decision remains in place now and will be enforced throughout the evaluations process. The CMHA Board understands this is not ideal, but we ask that you respect this decision so that we can focus on the most important task we have right now, which is getting our kids back playing hockey. When deemed safe to do so we will be happy to welcome our entire community of fans back inside.

However, for clarity we will be allowing NO SPECTATORS inside Crowfoot Arena during evaluations. Our volunteers need to focus on the many tasks associated with this process and policing spectators is not part of the process.

As such we will be implementing the following conditions for the Evaluations period of our season:

  1. If a parent/guardian/family member is spotted spectating in the Crowfoot Arena that person, and their player will be asked to leave the facility immediately. The player will score a zero score for that session.
  2. In the event a parent/guardian/family member is spotted spectating for a second time during evaluations, they and their player will be asked to leave again and that player will score a zero score for all of his or her evaluations sessions.
  3. Further discipline associated with a violation of this mandate could be administered as a violation of the CMHA Code of Conduct, which could include revocation of the family’s membership in CMHA.

This is not a process we want to have to enforce so we respectfully ask that you abide by the current guidelines set for Crowfoot Arena. Again, we recognize this is not ideal, but if we are doing our best to ensure a safe process so that we can move forward with the season.

As it relates to the balance of the season, we will continue to look for solutions to allow family members the opportunity to watch their players play, including scheduling games in facilities that may be more conducive to allowing socially-distanced spectators.

We recognize this is a lot to digest because it was for us too. This won’t be a typical year and the precautions we’re taking and guidance we’re being given by our governing bodies of Hockey Calgary, Alberta and Canada has evolved over the past few months. We expect those things may continue to evolve and that may cause us all a bit of stress and frustration. But if it means keeping our kids on the ice this winter I’m confident that our board and our amazing group of volunteers will do everything we have to in order to evolve with them. We all have a vested interest in keeping these kids playing and this province open for recreation and for business. Let’s all do our part to make sure that happens.

We look forward to seeing all your players back on the ice this September and to seeing the entire Crowfoot hockey community back at an arena very soon.

Until then, stay safe and welcome back. Let’s all make it a great hockey season!

Ryan Laverty

President

Crowfoot Minor Hockey Association