Thank you for your patience as we endeavour to navigate the return to hockey in our ever-evolving new world of COVID-19.
We want to provide you with an update, but please understand that like most things these days, this season will be a fluid situation with the potential for changes as we move forward.
Health and safety are a priority and the emphasis this year in hockey across Canada will be on players’ development, and keeping the fun and love of this great sport going. There are currently no plans for Championship play within BC.
The City is still targeting mid-September for ice installation followed by a gradual phase-in of ice use by all user groups.
Details of protocols will be provided at parent meetings in the latter half of September before implementing on-ice practices in early October. You can anticipate that players will need to come to the arena dressed in their gear, and traffic flow in and out of the arena will be modified and restricted. Hygiene and Covid symptom screening will be mandatory and attendance will need to be tracked in case of the need for contact tracing by public health.
Viasport and BC Hockey recently announced the move to Phase 3 of Return to Sport which interfaces with the transition into “Return to Play” in Hockey Canada guidelines. BC Hockey- Return to Play Resources
It will be necessary to form smaller teams this season and coaches will be required to work with only one team due to cohort restrictions. Practice schedules will be finalized once we know the number of teams. The majority of practices will continue to be during weekday evenings, but in order to accomodate all teams, this may include a rotating schedule including some weekend Fernie ice when available.
Hockey Canada has developed great resources for coaches with ideas for practice drills utilizing more physical distancing strategies, however it is important to note that encroachment on the 2m distance will occur at times during Phase 3 of sport.
We are still in need of coaches, managers and safety people at all age groups and additional volunteers will be needed to facilitate safety protocols.
There will be no spectators or loitering in the arena at this time.
Due to COVID-19 – League structure at ALL age groups and levels has yet to be finalized but it will include cohort limitations of 4 teams, limited travel, likely no tournaments and possibly modified game play such as 3on3 or 4on4 for part or all of the season. It is possible that cohorts may change during the year following a 2 week hiatus from game play. There will be more emphasis on practice and development and the number of games played this year will likely be reduced compared to past years. See the BC Hockey website for info.
U7 (2014, 2015, 2016) and U9 (2012, 2013)
The U7 and U9 divisions will continue to utilize cross-ice and half-ice play and development as per Hockey Canada guidelines.
It is most likely that we will have 2 teams in each age division and game play will occur within cohorts formed within the Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford communities.
U11 (2010, 2011)
The U11 division will be divided into 2 teams based on like-skill-sets and will continue to play in the EK League in the A and B divisions.
U13 (2008, 2009) and U15 (2006, 2007)
Fernie and Elk Valley Minor Hockey are continuing to work together to form joint Tier 4 teams for the U13 and U15 age groups. These teams will be chosen through a tryout process from those players who are interested, and will play in the EK ‘A’ divisions. Practices will be shared between both associations. Other players will be divided into Recreational teams which will play in the EK ‘B’ divisions.
Based on current registration numbers we expect enough players to have a Recreational team in each association at U13 and a joint Recreational team between the associations at U15.
At the U15 level the Recreational team is mandated by BC Hockey to be non-body checking.
Note that the terms “Tiered” and “Recreational” are set by BC Hockey to differentiate the carding process. We expect all teams will experience excellent like-skilled game play in their leagues and divisions
U18 (2003, 2004, 2005)
Fernie and Elk Valley continue to work together at U18 however at this time, we have insufficient numbers to create a team.
Unfortunately it is not possible to join with Crowsnest Pass. We will be setting up a meeting with parents asap via ZOOM to consider other alternatives such as playing in Cranbrook or as overaged players on the Bantam Recreational team.
We ask that if you would like to play hockey this season and have not yet registered, please do so now at the following links:
Our deadline for registration is September 8th.
Any requests to register after this will only be considered on a case by case basis depending on numbers and COVID protocols.
We must give our registration numbers to East Kootenay by then so that decisions can be made on the best way to set up the leagues and cohorts this year.
Stay tuned for more updates and parent meeting dates in the next few weeks.
We look forward to getting back on the blades and the ice!