COVID-19 Response:

Return to Play Guidelines, FAQ & Resource Links

Updated September 21, 2020

 

SPMHA has been receiving requests for information or details on how Covid-19 might impact the season, and/or what the season could look like. The simple answer is that things are changing weekly, if not almost daily.

The purpose of this page is to answer as many of your questions as possible with the information that we have to date, and to provide timely updates as more information or details become available.

We direct you to review the SPMHA Return to Play Guidelines document and encourage you to check back frequently for updates as we receive updated information. We have also included links to relevant guidelines and protocols that may be of interest to you.

If you have a question that is not covered below, feel free to send it to faq@spmha.ab.ca and if applicable, we will add it to this page. We understand that our membership is looking for details and we thank you for your patience as we try to navigate this difficult time.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What has SPMHA been doing to plan for the upcoming season?

SPMHA's contingency committee has been monitoring the guidance being provided from Alberta Health Services, Hockey Canada and Hockey Alberta. Below you will find links to the current guidance documents from each of those organizations. Effectively Hockey Canada has provided general guidance to all the provincial bodies. Hockey Alberta has in turn provided general guidance to the local associations and leagues while taking into consideration the current Alberta Health guidelines.

In addition, below you will also find the County of Strathcona’s Guideline for Arena Users and Spectator and Dressing Room Capacity. As the facility operator, Strathcona County is responsible to set the rules under which hockey programs will be entitled to operate in their facilities.  

As such, based on the current directives from Alberta Health Services, Hockey Alberta and Strathcona County, SPMHA along with our partner associations (SPKAC, Fuzion & Strathcona Minor Hockey) have developed a Return to Play Guidelines document. Please keep in mind things are fluid at this time and as any of the above guidelines are changed or modified we shall be doing the same.

 

What is the refund policy on camps and season registration?

We can appreciate the increased concern regarding hockey-related expenses given the varying experiences that our members have had over the past several months. We believe that we cannot over-communicate enough our stance on refunds. Our members will pay for what they get. In terms of camps, if any camps are cancelled before they begin, full refunds will be processed. If any camps are cancelled after they begin, refunds will be processed on a prorated basis. In terms of the 2020-2021 registration fees, should there be a cancellation of the season before it begins, members can expect a full refund.  If there is a cancellation after season start, prorated refunds will be provided based on the amount of season completed.  Our full refund policy can be found in our SPMHA Policies and Procedures document.  Registration fees account for a variety of items including ice allocation, administration, development, equipment, officials and league & membership fees. We will complete our due diligence as details evolve and will be ready to address financial implications as we encounter them. We appreciate your patience and ask that you trust that we will communicate information as we have it.

 

How are evaluations going to run?

The SPMHA Evaluation Committee has been working consistently throughout the summer to not only identify improvements on the current evaluation process but to also determine how to effectively proceed with evaluations and team creation given the current COVID restrictions. Multiple options were considered and based on Alberta Health restrictions in relation to cohort sizes and movement between cohorts, we have determined it would not be responsible to host traditional evaluations in a non-cohorted environment, and have opted to defer player evaluations to occur as part of the development season.  One of the primary objectives of the committee is to reduce stress for all parties involved including players, parents, and evaluation volunteers. We are currently reviewing options for skills testing within the guidelines provided in Hockey Alberta’s off-season skill development outline in its return to hockey programming.

 

Is COVID-19 covered under our Hockey Canada Insurance?

Yes. Unlike most other insurance policies available to sports organizations, as a sanctioned member of Hockey Alberta & Hockey Canada, any participant of our program is covered for infectious disease (inclusive of COVID-19) under our collective insurance policy through till at least September 1st, 2023.  For more information on the Hockey Canada Insurance program, which is only available to sanctioned Minor Hockey Association participants, CLICK HERE.

 

What will gameplay look like next year?

All administrative bodies are expecting some form of competitive gameplay to occur.  What that looks like is dependent on cohort sizes as determined by Provincial Health Authorities at season start. At this point, the Edmonton Federation Hockey League (EFHL) is mapping a gameplay model based on current cohort sizes as well as potentially expanded cohort sizes.  Options will include some sort of regional cohorting with other teams for the purpose of creating competitive gameplay, and may include 2 week breaks where no games are played in order to establish new cohorts and new competitive options.   The Association understands that members want to participate in games, and will continue to explore all options, with the safety of our members and our community as the priority.

 

Can players utilize dressing rooms?

Yes, all cohorted teams may utilize the dressing rooms as required.  If participating in a non-cohorted session, dressing room space will be limited to provide 2-meter physical distancing between individuals and groups. To accommodate all facility users, groups will be limited to a maximum of 2 dressing rooms.  Players are required to wear masks in the dressing room and will be required to remain seated in their designated area until the ice surface is ready for them to proceed directly on to the ice surface.   At the conclusion of the session, players must go directly from the ice to their dressing room and stay in the dressing rooms until the hallways have been cleared.  Teams will be provided 15 minutes to exit the facility at the end of their session.  Please note that showers are not available.

 

What is the impact on teams if someone on the team or their family member tests positive?

To adhere to Alberta Health & Hockey Alberta's requirements for contact tracing, SPMHA teams will be required to use the Health Check function within their TeamSnap application.  Within 8 hours of every scheduled ice session, all participants must log on to their TeamSnap and complete the HealthCheck questionnaire.  This questionnaire is a quick health self-assessment.  Once completed, you will receive an indication of pass or fail based on any noted potential COVID symptoms.  Note you must not participate in any ice session if you to not pass the self-assessment.  Coaches and managers will be directed to monitor the status of each participant before each session to ensure that all participants have completed and passed the HealthCheck before attending the session.

If a participant fails the HealthCheck test, we require them to follow Alberta Health's guidelines which are noted below.

If a participant presents COVID symptoms

  • You are legally required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days if you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat that is not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition.
  • The mandatory isolation period is 10 days from the start of symptoms, or until symptoms resolve, whichever takes longer.

If a participant has tested positive for COVID-19

  • You are legally required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days if you have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Isolation period is for 10 days from the start of symptoms, or until symptoms resolve, whichever takes longer.

If a participant has had symptoms but tested negative for COVID-19

  • If you tested negative and have known exposure to COVID-19, you are legally required to isolate for 14 days.
  • If you tested negative and have no known exposure to the virus, you are not legally required to isolate. However, it is important to stay home until your symptoms resolve so that you do not infect others.

If a participant has had close contacts with a confirmed COVID case

  • You are legally required to isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms if you are a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 (has close physical contact without appropriate use of personal protective equipment, or comes into direct contact with infectious body fluids)
  • If you become sick with cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat during this time, you must isolate for an additional 10 days from the beginning of symptoms or until you are feeling well, whichever takes longer.

If a participant has no symptoms, but has had close contact with someone with symptoms (such as a sibling or parent) and provided such person has not been in contact with a known positive COVID-19 case, Alberta Health does not require the participant to isolate, however, SPMHA requests that the participant does not participate until:

  • The family member showing symptoms has been tested and receives a negative test result if required by Alberta Health; and
  • The family member’s symptoms have resolved.

This is only recommended and SPMHA asks its families to use practical judgement in this determination.

In the event we experience a positive COVID-19 test from any of our participants, we will follow the guidance of Alberta Health as may be required, including testing of participants/coaches and quarantine protocols as may be required to safely return that participant and/or team to play. Any additional details on this process will be updated here in due course once more information is available.

As with most of the COVID-19 rules, guidelines and regulations, ours are based on families self-regulating and abiding by these guidelines.

 

What happens if a family does not want to travel for a tournament or attend any other team event? 

Based on current guidelines it is highly unlikely that there would be any tournaments or other travel-based team events until at least January. However, in the event those guidelines change, as with any team event, no player is obligated to attend anything that they do not wish to.

 

Will face shields be required for players to reduce the risk of transmission?

This is not a current mandate from Hockey Canada nor Hockey Alberta. As such, it will not be a mandate from SPMHA. Players will have the choice to wear a face shield or a cage on their helmets.

 

Are players going to be required to use masks?

Face coverings (non-medical masks) are currently required in all Strathcona County public facilities. Players, coaches and spectators will be required to wear a mask when entering recreation facilities and in any public gathering areas within the facilities.  Face coverings will not be required on the ice surface. Please see Strathcona County's FAQs for more information.

 

Will spectators be allowed in the rinks?

Yes, spectators will be allowed in the rinks, subject to the restrictions laid out by Alberta Health Services and Strathcona County.  During Phase 2, current guidelines allow for up to 100 spectators, provided there is adequate room for proper physical distancing.  The County of Strathcona has assessed its facilities and has provided specific spectator capacity limits for each arena.  All spectators are required to wear masks.

We recognize that families will want to attend their child's ice sessions, and often they will have other siblings in tow,  but we recommend that whenever possible, families limit themselves to 1 spectator per participant, so that we don't end up exceeding capacity limits and putting facility operators in a position where they have to turn spectators away.

Please remember that this situation is very fluid and constantly changing. SPMHA is committed to returning our players to the ice this fall in accordance with the guidelines and recommendations of the governing authorities in a safe manner.  As more details become available, questions posed or guidelines are amended we will updated this page accordingly.

 

Resource Links

Transition Cohort for Discovery, U6 & U7

SPMHA Group Designate Responsibilities

Strathcona County Facility Entry Guidelines

Sherwood Park Hockey Return to Play Guidelines

SPMHA Season Start of Season Plan

Strathcona County "Know Before You Go" Website

Strathcona County Arena Guidelines

Strathcona County Arena Spectator and Dressing Room Capacities

Hockey Alberta Return to Hockey Guide

Alberta Health Services Return to Sport - Phase 2 Guidelines

Hockey Edmonton Return to Play Guidelines

Hockey Canada Return to Hockey Guidelines