Board Wide Message Nov. 13th, 2020, News (South Muskoka Minor Hockey Association)

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Board Wide Message Nov. 13th, 2020
Submitted By Sarah Geer on Friday, November 13, 2020
Hello Bears Families,

Thank you to everyone for your continued patience.  I am writing to confirm that the decisions and placements that have been made over the last few months will remain as they are from now until the end of our hockey season.  This will only change if the local health unit, OMHA and the province give us new directions and if it proves feasible for all members of the association.  There may be a possibility to switch players on teams only within a bubble in the new year but again we will have to wait and see.  With Covid numbers climbing each day and the province moving our district from green to yellow, we need to be prepared for more restrictions and potentially the cancellation of the season.  Therefore, any other requests for changes will not be entertained at this time.

Some games will be starting this weekend as long as qualifications and VSS are completed by bench staff.  We have a limited number of referees this year as well and require some understanding if games cannot go on as posted.  Please give them a shout out and thank you when you see them!  Games will either be 3 vs. 3 or 4 vs. 4 based on the coaches decisions before game time.  There is a document on the OMHA website to explain the rules if you are interested.  Please adjust your expectations to the new game structure and show compassion and positivity towards the bench staff and players.

We will be learning as we go this weekend and monitoring games in all arenas.  If we need to make changes, we will do that during the week.

Only one parent/guardian per player will be allowed into the arena (no additional siblings) so please respect that rule.  I cannot stress enough how quickly all of this can be taken away.  It is a great privilege for our players to skate, not a right.  Especially in a pandemic with numbers on the rise.  Every arena has different rules and we expect you to learn about them and strictly follow them.

I would encourage you and your players to thank the coaches and bench staff for stepping up for the sake of your player.  Remember to look for the positive in each practice and game.  All coaches have been offering their special skills and talents at each practice.  With that said, we are hoping to implement a coaching mentor program where the board and coaches can support each other with the new and ever changing guidelines.  It will also help to provide division appropriate drills and skills (with enhanced physical distancing measures) to inspire and add to their current lessons.  We have some volunteer coaches who are already very interested in participating in this and I am excited to see the coaches share their best selves and ideas to each other to provide fast paced, drill & skill specific lessons that engage all players.  Of course the most important, they will provide an element of much needed fun!  The mental health of our children is the most important during this time.  This is not the year for pressure, this is the year for developing confidence, overcoming adversity and becoming resilient while always seeking the positive with any hand we are dealt with.

I hope you will join myself and the board in this new journey in covid hockey from now until the end of the season.  If you have feedback for future additions or changes, we are creating a manual of operations for an "abnormal/pandemic" year in order to be prepared for Sept 2021 if we are required to move in that direction again.  This has been a significant learning curve for all of us.  (Shout out to every single board member who are working their tails off to make things happen!).  We are also updating our current manual of operations and by laws to make sure they are current with the OMHA regulations for a regular season.  Please feel free to share your thoughts with us.  You can use the FEEDBACK email.  The plan will be posted early next year for all members to read and vote on at the AGM which we hope you attend.

Finally, if there are issues or complaints, please wait 24 HOURS after an incident, then speak to or email your manager.  You can also use the FEEDBACK email. Please encourage each other to not get sucked into the drama of complaining and gossip.  Nothing gets accomplished that way.  We are in this together and learning and pivoting as we go.

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