Our day-to-day routine has been altered by COVID-19, and hockey has not been immune. Hockey Canada is committed to providing Return to Hockey resources to ensure Canadians in every province and territory are prepared to get back on the ice as quickly and safely as possible.
The Safety Guidelines will take hockey associations and leagues through how to prepare for a return to hockey, hygiene, return-to-play protocols and the use of facilities. With the depth of resources comes responsibility, and it is very important for Members, hockey associations, leagues and teams to appoint someone to oversee health and safety protocols.
Download the Safety Guidelines (PDF) - last updated October 20, 2021
The Hockey Canada Safety Guidelines represent Hockey Canada’s recommendations for best practices for delivering hockey programming as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. It is important to note that going forward Provincial/Territorial, and local public health authorities will be putting different re-opening plans in place meaning restrictions will vary across Canada depending on the current COVID-19 landscapes. Hockey Canada has provided this manual as a guidance document for Members and hockey associations but realize that you will work with your applicable public health authority on creating guidelines that meet your requirements as hockey is delivered in your areas.
It is important to remember that effective risk management steps will assist in keeping both your program and the community safe and as well protect your organization from liability.
Each province/territory is at different stages in their reopening. Facilities will vary in their approach to operating based on applicable public health authority guidelines in place.
Anyone participating in or attending a Hockey Canada controlled event or activity hosted in Canada must be fully vaccinated. This includes, without limitation, participants, volunteers, and spectators at all activities relating to national or international events and camps, national programs, and attendees at national meetings. To be “fully vaccinated” one must have received the necessary dose(s) of a Health Canada approved vaccine at least fourteen (14) days prior to the start of the event or activity that the individual wishes to attend or participate in. Hockey Canada will consider exemptions based on guidance from government and public health authorities, as well as experts retained by the organization.
Hockey Canada has not made vaccines mandatory at this time for participation in Member controlled events or activities, such as playing games and practicing within a Minor Hockey Association or League. Hockey Canada strongly recommends that all participants in Member sanctioned activities and programs who are eligible to receive a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine be fully vaccinated.
Hockey Canada’s stakeholders, including its Members, Minor Hockey Associations, Leagues and Teams must, at a minimum, follow the advice of their provincial and/or regional public health authority regarding the standards specific to the prevention of COVID-19 which must be met to engage in hockey activities, and which may include vaccinations in some jurisdictions.
Keep your child home and out of the hockey environment. Your child should not return to hockey activities until all steps outlined by their healthcare provider and public health authority are completed and they are symptom free for 24 hours.
If a person the participant is residing with tests positive for COVID–19, the participant and those the participant is residing with will need to stay out of the hockey environment. They should contact their health care provider and public health authority for instructions. Anyone identified as a close contact should stay out of the hockey environment until all public health authority steps have been completed. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should stay out of the hockey environment until all steps outlined by their health care provider and public health authority are completed and they are symptom free for 24 hours.
If someone on your child’s team tests positive, the public health authority guidelines will determine contact tracing and isolation requirements. It is possible, therefore, that one diagnosis on a team could lead to that team being required to pause hockey activities until the public health authority determines it is safe to return.
The player should follow up with their health care provider if required and the public health authority if COVID-19 is suspected. They should not return to the hockey environment until all steps outlined by their health care provider and public health authority are completed and they are symptom free for 24 hours.
The player should remain out of the hockey environment and contact their health care provider and public health authority for required steps to be taken. They should not return to the hockey environment until all steps outlined by their health care provider and public health authority are completed and they are symptom free for 24 hours.
If participants do not feel well or have identified respiratory symptoms, ensure they advise team staff immediately and put on a cloth mask. The participant should immediately go home and follow up with their health care provider and the public health authority if COVID-19 is suspected. They should not return to the hockey environment until all steps outlined by their health care provider and public health authority are completed and they are symptom free for 24 hours.
It is recommended anyone entering the facility should wear a cloth mask (it may also be required by the public health authority and/or the facility). The cloth mask can be removed by players while participating in an on-ice activity. Continue to monitor Member, facility and public health authority guidelines specific to wearing masks.
Coaches and team staff should wear cloth masks in the facility at all times including, in the dressing room, on the bench and on the ice during practice.
Wearing a mask alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19. You must consistently and strictly adhere to good hygiene and public health measures, including frequent hand washing and physical distancing. For important information on masks, please CLICK HERE.
It is important to check public health authority information on masks. Currently the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends:
The type of hockey activities that may occur when hockey returns will be determined by the regional governing Member of Hockey Canada, in consultation with the appropriate government and public health authorities. In some cases, this may be limited initially to include skill based activities that respect physical distancing protocols, while in others, modified or traditional game play may be possible. It is difficult at this stage to predict when games will fully return in all parts of the country with any degree of certainty.
Decisions will be made by the facility, based on public health authority guidelines.
Each province/territory may have different restrictions and requirements for a return to safe play in that region. Any changes to the game will be determined by those restrictions and Member requirements.
This will be determined by public health authority guidelines as well as facility guidelines and Member requirements. It will be important for hockey associations to work under these established guidelines.
This will be determined by your Member, following public health authority guidelines.
It is recommended that hockey associations and leagues assign a communications officer, who will be responsible to ensure all updated and relevant information is passed on to the officials, participants, volunteers and parents within their jurisdiction. Always verify current information on applicable websites and work with your designated communications officer.
In the process of returning to play, it is highly recommended that a meeting be organized by each hockey association to discuss important areas, including:
There is not a specific exclusion in the General Liability policy for damages caused by COVID-19-related illnesses. Liability claims against Hockey Canada always need to be proven by the party making the claim, so continuing to update and enforce your risk-management guidelines as new risks emerge, such as COVID-19, are imperative. Please understand that Hockey Canada and its Members are actively working on updating riskmanagement protocols related to return-to-play guidelines post-COVID-19.
It is recommended that public health authority guidelines are adhered to and that instruction be given practicing physical distancing. Review your public health authority, Member and facility recommendations and requirements on the wearing of masks. Hockey Canada recommends that coaches wear a cloth mask at all times while in the facility including in the dressing room, on the bench and on the ice for practice.
The safety person or coach may need to be within two metres of a player if the player suffers an injury, but the safety person or coach should wear a mask and, as recommended in the Hockey Canada Safety Program, nonlatex gloves if treating a player for an injury.
The ability for any team to travel outside its geographic region to play hockey will depend on several factors, including public health authority guidelines, and travel restrictions, and will require the approval of the governing hockey bodies in your region and the region you wish to travel to. Note that provincial/ territorial guidelines and travel restrictions may also limit the ability to host local tournaments and your ability to accept tournament entries from teams outside your region.
If you use a bus, there are steps that should be taken to ensure hygiene is practiced and public health authority guidelines and restrictions are met.
Always refer to public health authority guidelines prior to leaving for any destination and ensure to follow them.
Monitor travel restrictions on the Government of Canada Travel Advisory website for any international destinations including the U.S.
This will be determined by public health authority, facility and Member guidelines. Families should be prepared to minimize the number of parents/guardians/spectators that attend in order to limit the number of people in the facility.
Some equipment should be washed (e.g. jerseys, pant shells, socks) after each practice/game, following manufacturer guidelines. It is important that players ensure all equipment is kept clean at all times.
Bottles should be labelled and washed after each practice or game.
This will be determined by public health authority, Member and facility guidelines. It is recommended that players shower at home. If showers are used in the facility, physical distancing must be followed.
If a participant or person they are residing with is in isolation, neither the participant nor those they are residing with can be in the hockey environment until all public health authority requirements are met.
It is important to follow guidelines specific to car seats and seat belts. It would be recommended to wear only equipment that can be worn safely under current laws or guidelines while sitting in a car seat or while wearing a seat belt. Hockey Canada recommends that players enter the facility in as much hockey equipment as possible, rather than changing together in dressing rooms where physical distancing may be difficult to maintain. When player safety might be compromised by riding in a car seat fully dressed in hockey equipment, the child should leave home partially dressed in their equipment, and should put on the remainder of the equipment after arriving at, but before entering, the facility.