WGHA Return to Hockey FAQ, News (Whitby Girls Hockey Association)

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WGHA Return to Hockey FAQ
Submitted By Leanne Greenwood on Tuesday, September 1, 2020
WGHA Return to Hockey FAQ

We know you have questions about what hockey will look like this season so we've put together a list of the most common questions we received. 

If your question has not been answered below or you required further clarification, please reach out to any member of the WGHA Executive. We would love to hear from you!     

Who provides the guidelines for Return to Hockey?

Hockey Canada has provided general guidance related to COVID-19 to all the provincial bodies. The Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) has in turn provided a framework to the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association (OWHA) and local associations while taking into consideration the current regional health guidelines.

What stage of Return to Hockey are we currently in?

We are currently in Stage 3 Modified Programming – which includes modified game play, scrimmage in practice and team practice drills. We are continuing to work will all authorities to provide you with as much information as possible. For complete details see the Return to Hockey see Stage 3 Return to Play document.  

Will WGHA representative teams be offered this season?  

Yes. Representative teams and coaches will be the same as announced earlier this year. See details at 2020-21 Representative teams and coaches.  

Will there be tryouts for WGHA Representative players?  

As per the OWHA, there will be no tryouts for competitive teams. During Stage 3 of the OWHA Return to Hockey framework, tryouts are not permitted for any sanctioned hockey association in Ontario. As a member of the OWHA, WGHA follows their direction. The goal of the OWHA is to get our players back to traditional 5 on 5 hockey and if the governing bodies permit traditional hockey, formal tryouts may occur at that time.  

How will teams be formed if there is no evaluation or tryout?  

The coaches for our Competitive teams have been announced earlier this year. Additional coaches will be updated soon. See 2020-21 Representative teams and coaches. The number of Competitive teams may be subject to change based on the number of players and their abilities in each division.  

Player placement for each team will be decided by the representative coaches for each team. Once the placements have been determined, the rosters will be vetted by the WGHA Roster Selection Committee and approved by the WGHA Executive.  

Players will be notified of their team placement by the head coach and the players will have 48 hours to accept or decline. Those who do not receive a placement or decline are invited to join the house league program for their age group.  

A player registered in an OWHA group may not be part of any other hockey participant group in Ontario.  

Will rep teams play games against teams from other clubs?  

Rep Teams will be placed within an extended group of 50 in consultation with the head coach of the team. The extended group may consist of WGHA players only or with a team from another OWHA member association within or out of the Durham Region Public Health Unit Boundary. The head coach will communicate their intentions on this matter to the selected players.      

What will House League look like this year?  

House league teams will have a maximum of 12 players. Players will be placed on a balanced team within their age group. These teams will play within an extended group of 50 who will play and practice together without interaction with any other extended group of 50. A couple of divisions may have two groups of 50 players. Players will be placed on teams based on their known abilities. Players within a defined group may be moved to different teams during developmental skates to ensure teams are balanced. 

Our House League Division will start on or around October 3, 2020 to allow players time to formally register and to allow our conveners to sort players into appropriately balanced teams. 

A player registered in an OWHA group may not be part of any other hockey participant group in Ontario.      

Will house league teams play against the same team every week?  

Currently, the OWHA requires teams to play within an extended group of 50 players or less, not including bench staff. With 12 players per team, up to 4 House league teams can be in an extended group. Should the OWHA change the number allowed within an extended group, we may re-evaluate our programs and possibly combine defined groups for the January to March portion of our season.  

Can a player register in another association this season?

Players can register with any organization subject to the organizations import rules.  

Can WGHA players participate in non-Hockey Canada sanctioned leagues this season?  

No. As per the OHF, any player who participates in an unsanctioned league after September 30th is not eligible to participate in sanctioned hockey (Hockey Canada) for the balance of the season. We have been advised that the OHF will be enforcing this rule throughout this season. To find out more please visit the OHF website. Ontario Hockey Federation Unsanctioned League Policy.pdf  

What will the game format be?  

Game format will be modified hockey and may include 3v3 or 4v4. The rules and permission to begin modified game play may begin at a time yet to be determined by the OWHA. Specific game play rules will be made available prior to the start of game play.  

How many players will be on a team this year?  

The WGHA has decided that house league teams will have a maximum of 12 players. Competitive teams will roster the usual number of players as per previous seasons.  

Will there be a Development Stream (DS) program this season?  

In accordance with the OWHA, we are unable to offer a Development Stream program this season.  

Can parents watch games and practices?  

The Town of Whitby has advised us that each rink will have a maximum capacity of 50.  At this time, it is our understanding that one parent/guardian per player will be permitted in the arena.  

Will players be using the dressing rooms?  

At this time, players will not be permitted to use the dressing rooms. Players will come to the rink dressed in most of their equipment and put on their remaining items (skates, helmet, gloves) once they arrive. We will continue to work with the Town of Whitby and the Durham Public Health Unit to determine the safest way for players to dress and undress.  

Will I have to wear a mask?  

Players and officials will wear a mask until they go on the ice at which point it can be removed. Coaches and bench staff will be required to wear a mask while on the bench. Hockey Canada, the OHF and the OWHA do not require players to wear a splash guard. 

Spectators are required to wear a face covering (mask) in all indoor spaces as per the Durham Public Health Unit guidelines. Face coverings (disposable or reusable) must fit snugly and fully cover the nose, mouth and chin. They must be secured with ties or ear loops. Face shields, costume masks and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes are NOT considered acceptable face coverings by Durham Public Health.  

Do we have to complete a health screen before we come to the rink?  

Currently, all parents, players, coaches, officials, trainers and instructors will be required to complete a heath screen prior to participating in any hockey related activities. This will be required prior to each practice or game.  

When will registration open?  

Formal registration for the 2020-21 season will open as soon as we have our payment system up and running. In the meantime, our "Intent to Play" system is open to assist the WGHA in preparing for the 2020-21 season. There is no cost associated with "Intent to Play" registration.  

When can we expect the season to start?  

Currently, we are planning to start our House League program on October 3, 2020 and our Rep program shortly after team placement is completed.        
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