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COVID-19 Info

Sports Pause in MN - 11.20.2020 at 11:59pm

Based on Gov. Tim Walz’s announcement 11.18.2020 with new COVID restrictions that will impact youth and adult sports, WHAM will be on a pause for the next 4 weeks. Beginning Friday 11.20 at 11:59pm all events will be on hold until Friday, December 18th, 2020.  All games during this pause time will be cancelled and referees will be notified.

WHAM will continue to follow state guidelines and will be in touch as things re-open, change, or continue to pause given the state of the pandemic.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and we look forward to seeing you back on the ice soon!

Safe Return to Hockey

         In response to the ongoing 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a few necessary changes made to WHAM's standard rules in order to keep the safety and well-being of all involved as our top priority. As the world, our jobs, our livelihoods, and our daily routines have all had to make significant changes and adapt for safety precautions, so too does our upcoming hockey season in ways that may be tougher for some teams to absorb than others. Please know that these decisions were not made lightly and come with the guidance of our sanctioning partners MN and USA Hockey in order to best protect the lives of all who participate, officiate, spectate, and those we return home to each night. 

     As we prepare for the upcoming season, we understand that social distancing is a recommended standard practice in all that we do in order to protect ourselves and others from unnecessary potential exposure of this deadly virus. When considering how to best limit the risk for potential exposure of as many as possible, while still allowing us to hit the ice this fall and play the sport we all love, some safety guidelines for this unique season will be put into place. (See Return To Play Guidelines below)

      This will be a very unique year for many teams who will be directly impacted by the 1 team rule. We understand some teams may lose their goalie if they choose their second team or choose to play as a skater if they are a dual position player. For these teams, we will be opening up the classifieds online to help with merging and collaboration of other teams within your division who may also be directly impacted by this rule.

        With the uncertainty of the season and what COVID may bring to our state with another potential surge this fall/early winter, we understand that the season may be cut short, delayed for weeks if a state shutdown occurs, or possibly be unaffected. We also understand that if a teammate were to contract COVID, the team would be forced to cancel their games for 2 weeks due to direct exposure and CDC/MDH quarantine guidelines. All this would directly impact team standings and points. For this reason, and planning ahead, the board recognizes that final team points may not be the true reflection of the team’s capabilities this season. For this reason, the end of season Championship Tournament will not be open to the “top point” teams, but rather to those teams who first commit at each division.

       WHAM will have a COVID-19 email address (COVID19info@whamhockey.org) to send COVID specific concerns and questions to throughout the season. The website will also have a COVID specific page (link from homepage) with any updated changes, announcements, and guidelines for this season. Managers should expect to check this page routinely throughout the season.

        Together, we can make this a successful, fun season of hockey that is as safe as possible for all. We appreciate your understanding and support throughout this unprecedented time and look forward to seeing you all back out on the ice this fall!

Sincerely,

The WHAM Board

FAQ's about Covid revisions

1. If I am a dual rostered player (ie. primary and a secondary player) during a normal season, can I choose to play on my secondary team (higher level team) this season and still be able to play on my primary team (lower level team) next season?

- YES - The WHAM board understands that many dual rostered players will need to make a decision between their two teams this year to make rosters work. The board is anticipating the 2021-22 season to be "back to normal" and you will be able to rejoin your second team that you are accustomed to playing with during non-pandemic years.

 

2. If I am a player in the league, but also coach a different team in the league, am I allowed to be on the bench with the team I coach?

- No - the 1 team rule includes both players and coaches. You are allowed to be an active participant on only 1 team this year - you must choose to play or coach.

WHAM Return to Hockey Guidelines 2020-2021 Season

Overall guidelines:

  1. Players (skaters and goalies) may play on ONE WHAM team ONLY. This is based on guidelines from MN and USA Hockey to minimize the number of exposed teams if a player contracts COVID-19. The secondary player rule cannot be implemented safely based on these guidelines with the number of games played weekly in WHAM and the overlap with teams. 
  2. Players should play in only one game per day with a maximum of two games a week. Week starts Monday and ends Sunday. 
  3. There will be no sub pool for skaters and goalies during the 2020-2021 season, again to limit cross exposure of teams. Goalies can only play with their rostered team and can’t sub for another team. 
  4. Teams should plan accordingly and recruit new players if they depended heavily on their secondary players.
  5. Consider merging with another team from your division for the season if numbers are low. 
  6. We ask that players who participate in other hockey leagues in addition to WHAM make every effort to abide by the above guidelines for the safety and overall concern for their teammates and opponents throughout the season. Unfortunately, given the COVID-19 pandemic, playing as much hockey as you can is not safe and should be limited this season.
 
For games, the following pre-game practices are recommended by USA and MN Hockey:
 
  1. Dress at home as much as possible, with the exception of goalies.
  2. Use the restroom at home. 
  3. Bring filled water bottles from home. Do not share water bottles on the bench.
  4. Do not enter locker rooms.
  5. Allow previous skaters to leave the building before entering.
  6. Wear a mask while finishing up dressing and when the game is completed and undressing.
  7. MN Hockey recommends (not required) all players wear a full face mask or cage on the ice.
  8. Teams should share with their opponents any special conditions their home arena may have at least one week prior to the game so the opposition is able to plan accordingly.
 
During game play, please observe these guidelines:
 
  1. Only referee is allowed in scorer's box.
  2. There are no minor officials this season. The visiting team must fill out the score sheet on the players bench each game.
  3. The home team is required, regardless of the final score, to enter in the stats online after each game.
  4. Captains meet with officials at the edge of the referee’s circle to maintain 6 feet of social distancing. 
  5. When picking up practice pucks, keep a gloved hand to handle the pucks.
  6. A maximum of two coaches, with masks, on the bench.
  7. Use the bench with one row of seated and one row of standing players, if needed, to space properly.
  8. Goalies should drop the puck rather than have the ref take it from their glove.
  9. Any player/coach who intentionally spits in the direction of any opponent or official must be assessed a match penalty.
  10. Afterward, use a stick salute rather than handshakes. Do not shake the officials’ hands. A wave of thanks will suffice. 
 
If a player is infected with COVID-19 they must contact the league by email COVID19info@whamhockey.org and inform WHAM of the team name, NOT PLAYER and date quarantine began.
 
  1. IF a player becomes infected with COVID-19, the team will not be allowed to play for 14 DAYS (not games as typo said in WHAM Wednesday) during the quarantine time frame.
  2. Due to the games being cancelled because of COVID-19 the forfeit rule would not apply. 
 
Further guidelines and/or alterations of these guidelines MAY occur prior to and during our season. Please watch for emails or check the WHAM web page for updates as dictated by the State of Minnesota, USA, and MN Hockey.
 
Additional information:
 
  1. End of year Championship Tournament – due to the unforeseen COVID-19 related forfeits, missed games, and potential state shut down for a portion of the season, there will not be an official Championship Tournament based on standings in March of 2021. The board understands that the actual team standings may be greatly impacted and not be a true reflection of their team’s capabilities should they be directly impacted by COVID-19. Instead, the tournament will be for those teams who commit first and want to participate despite their standings. Watch for further information in WHAM Wednesdays. 
  2. Team declaration is August 15th. You must declare your team. No team can be added after August 15th due to work that has to be done by the league. However, teams will have until September 7, 2020 to drop out. .
  3. If a team does not have a goalie for a game we suggest a teammate try goalie, skate 6, or the goalie for the other team changes teams halfway through the game.  
  4. The rules changes are only for the 2020-2021 season. If you choose to play with a higher level team this year, you can return to your original, lower team next year. 
  5. There will be a COVID-19 page on the WHAM website this season with any updated information and changing rules pertaining to the season or expectations from the Governor. It will be the responsibility of the team manager to check this page often throughout the season.
 
It is all of our responsibility to keep ourselves, our teammates, our referees, and our families safe. We ask that you follow the above revisions/additions and understand the goal for all is to have fun in a manner that is as safe as possible.
 
This year is about the opportunity to play hockey while being mindful of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.