The Fort St. John Minor Hockey Association season is well underway, with tryouts for competitive teams taking place this week and in the weeks to come. Though players and parents are glad to have hockey back, the question on everyone's mind, especially of the parents and families, is will fans be allowed at games and ice times, and how many?
Minor Hockey president David Batten addressed the concerns in a statement, saying that spectators will not be allowed at tryouts. Under the COVID-19 restrictions, each Pomeroy ice surface has room for 25 fans, but since evaluators at tryouts are a part of that number, as well as other safety people as required, the decision has been made to not have any spectators present for the remainder of tryouts.
However, that will change once teams are made.
"Once all team volunteers are in place, including HC, AC, HSCPs, safety person, and team managers and are all approved by the FSJMHA executive, we will work with the team to develop a plan to allow spectators into the Pomeroy," said Batten.
The statement laid out some details as to who will be allowed at games and what precautions will be in place.
Spectators will need to be seating or standing in the bleachers, and not standing around the outside glass as is common at the Pomeroy Sport Centre. Player's siblings will not be allowed in attendance, and there must be fewer people than the bleacher capacity (25) in the stands at all times. Teams will have a designated safety person, and bleachers will be sanitized after each ice time.
To see the full statement, visit the association's Facebook page.
Once teams are made, Batten said the association will be focused on practice and skill development for the rest of October, with games beginning at the earliest in November.
“If and when we play games, we’ll be playing within the district, against Clearview, Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, and Taylor,” said Batten.
Running a season during a pandemic takes a lot of work from everyone involved. More volunteers are needed than ever before, as each team will be responsible for two safety volunteers, to wipe down the stands and the benches after each game, respectively.
“Every door you open there’s another challenge. We’re calling on a lot of people to help out this year but we have a great group of parents,” Batten said.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.