KMHA Pause update, News (Kitchener Minor Hockey)

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Dec 21, 2021 | KMHA | 4080 views
KMHA Pause update
KMHA is writing this article to answer some frequently asked questions in relation to the current Pause on Hockey Activities.  We have received a few emails and noted posts on social media. We hope that these answers will help to explain the thinking and ensure you that it is our intention to return to Hockey promptly in January. 

Why was the decision to pause hockey made? KMHA made the decision to be stricter than the guidelines of our governing bodies for the following reasons.

1.       The spread of COVID 19 contacts and isolations in KMHA saw a drastic increase in just a 48-hour period, (Tuesday to Thursday) and it impacted vital infrastructure for offering our program, as well KMHA believed those cases would continue to spread within the teams if we continued practicing. As of the date of our board meeting, we had 9 teams on isolation orders with 20 more tracking contacts/cases on their teams, compounded by a delay in communication with Health bodies. The majority of these contacts/cases were in the younger age groups with the unvaccinated/partially vaccinated players; however cases were appearing amongst the older teams as well, including siblings of younger players. In particular these older aged cases were being required to isolate based on new COVID protocols for the Omicron Variant of Concern. We also believed there were further cases not reported to us that could have realized an even wider spread of contacts.

2.       The spread amongst teams has led to contacts and required isolations amongst our coaches and officials. With out these required people we cannot operate.  Capacity within our official’s group was down to about 50% not leaving enough officials to cover the game load for both Cripps or league games still operating. KMHA made attempts to seek support from neighbouring officials without any luck.

3.       Many but not all municipalities were examining cancelling the hosting of travel tournaments from happening. Included in this was the City of Kitchener, whom has since cancelled the hosting of travel tournaments (for a period of time) from happening in Kitchener. (Other Cancelled tournaments include, Chatam, The Marlies, and Cambridge girls)  It did and still feels like a correct decision to mirror that with our teams travelling to out of town tournaments. The majority spread of Covid has occurred across travel teams that have a: participated in tournaments, or b: played a league game against a team that played in a tournament.  To be clear the City did not require this decision of KMHA rather we felt aligning with it supported the greater health of our players during this pause.

4.       KMHA hoped to give our infrastructure as well as teams a chance to reset. By taking 10 days to see isolations realized and clear and another 7 days to see any extra related cases appear, we are hoping to return to a much lower contact/case count. With this Pause aligning with School break, it should help limit the sources of contacts for COVID amongst our player base. We are also hoping that we return to a caught up public health unit. KMHA will be asking coaches to share up the number of people isolating or monitoring for symptoms due to COVID on their teams as of Dec 31.

 

Why did KMHA chose to pause practices when Governing Bodies only required inter association games to be paused?  KMHA began the week of Dec 13th tracking COVID contacts on 5 teams. In a 48-hour period those contacts grew to 23 teams and counting. This exponential growth was compounded by the number of cases being tracked in our community. KMHA relies on timely responses to COVID contacts so we can help stem the spread. The time frame of contacts at this time means that teams were practicing and gathering again before we could get isolation direction from Public Health to forward. This further elongates and prolongs the spread amongst teammates, as well it could end with players being required to isolate over the holiday season that didn’t have to isolate. The timing of our decision was designed to help alleviate that risk and to allow time for new/on going COVID spread to finish its run across our teams before we started again.

 

Why did we pause for all Hockey Activity when Waterloo and Cambridge didn’t? KMHA cannot speak to the position that neighbouring associations find themselves in. KMHA can only respond to the environmental factors that we are experiencing and move forward.

 

What about the impact to the Mental and Physical Health of our youth? It is KMHA’s belief and intention to return as outlined. Players are encouraged to keep working out at home as well as spending time with their families during this break. Hockey will return quickly.

 

Why are we paused longer than other centres?  Most other centres posted their pause till Dec 26th. This date is effectively the same, as most/all leagues do not run league games between Christmas and New years.  KMHA has traditionally not had practices during the period between Christmas and New Years.

 

Will KMHA examine an alternative to the Cripps for the House League Players? KMHA is examining a few alternatives to the Cripps for this season. We will update our House League program when a decision has been reached.


Will KMHA support teams in seeking a refund from Brantford Minor Hockey for the tournament over the Christmas break?  KMHA has called Brantford Minor Hockey and explained the decision to revoke travel permits and assured the tournament that our decision was based on COVID. BMHA has expressed they will make every effort to be fair with the teams and will reply regarding a refund prior to Jan 10th. 

KMHA has also correct our return to Hockey date to be Jan 2nd 2022. 


Sincerely 
The KMHA Board of Directors

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