High hockey IQ playmakers.
Calm, cool and collected netminders.
And, of course, goal scorers who just seem to have a nose for the net.
When putting together a hockey team, there are a lot of important pieces
that make up a winning roster. But this season in Nova Scotia, players
across the province welcomed a brand-new type of teammate.
And without them, they may not have been able to hit the ice at all.
Enter the safety rep.
As part of Hockey Nova Scotia’s Rebound Plan, the return-to-play framework
that helped get the game back up and running in the province last summer,
each team, league and association was required to have a safety rep.
“This season, I really think the safety reps were the most vital members of
every team,” Hockey Nova Scotia executive director Amy Walsh says.
“They took some pressure off the coaching staff and off the players so they
could really focus on playing the game.”
The safety rep’s main role was educating their teams, leagues and
associations on COVID-19 safety protocols and Public Health guidelines.
In the fluid and ever-changing pandemic climate, that was no easy task.
“Every time we at Hockey Nova Scotia had to pivot because of new Public
Health restrictions or adjustments to protocols, they had to pivot, too,”
“They were so diligent in their positions and they all took their roles so
In all, close to 1,000 volunteers gave up their time across the province to
serve in this newly created position. One of their most important tasks was
maintaining the COVID-19 self-screening registry, which provided a database
that could be also be used for contact tracing in the event of COVID-19
Hockey Nova Scotia chief medical officer Dr. Tina Atkinson says that proved
to be instrumental in helping the sport return to Nova Scotia rinks after
the game was shut down across Canada in March 2020.
“The safety reps were absolutely crucial to the success of our plan and in
our return,” Dr. Atkinson says. “Making sure that everyone understood the
plan, followed the protocols and recognized the importance of screening and
contact tracing was so important. It was a really big ask and the people
who did that job, they took it on enthusiastically and that was really
amazing to see.”
The contributions and efforts of the safety reps were not only noticed by
Hockey Nova Scotia, they were also greatly appreciated by hockey parents.
“The safety reps certainly helped with the confidence of our hockey
families because what they offered was peace of mind,” Walsh says. “Having
them involved our game allowed for our parents and players to feel safe at
It wasn’t always just about safety either. Many of these volunteers went
above and beyond the call of duty.
“We heard all kinds of stories about the safety reps livestreaming games
and practices, providing play-by-play online and introducing apps for their
teams that could be used for self-screening,” Dr. Atkinson says. “It was
really interesting to see that kind of innovation and creativity.”
It has been a difficult 14 months for Canadians across the country in every
aspect of life. But despite a few bumps along the road, hockey players in
Nova Scotia were allowed to enjoy a bit of normalcy at the rink this
“We really could not have had the hockey season that we had without them
and we’re so grateful for their time this year because we know how very
time consuming it was for them,” Walsh says.
On behalf of every hockey player in Nova Scotia, thank you to all the
safety rep volunteers who made us feel confident when we stepped on the ice
during this unprecedented year.