Manitoulin Minor Hockey Association gears up for physical distanced season

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MANITOULIN – There will be a Manitoulin Minor Hockey Association (MMHA) 2020-2021 season.

“We are planning to open the season on November 1,” said Rob Dearing, president of the MMHA, earlier this week. “And we will have to follow protocols that have been set by the NOHA (Northern Ontario Hockey Association) and Hockey Canada so, for instance, there is to be a maximum of 50 players in each league (10 players per team), and three-on-three play.”

“We have had enough players register in every division to have leagues in each one,” said Mr. Dearing.

Jackie White, secretary of the MMHA told the Recorder recently, “we have the player registration numbers in and we know we are going to be able to go ahead with the hockey season in each division this year.”

“The number of players registered fluctuates from each of the Island hockey associations but every Island minor hockey association is on board (except for Wiikwemkoong, which will be putting its own league together this year).” 

Mr. Dearing added, “we are now preparing schedules and the hockey associations are presenting proposals to their municipal councils. And we (MMHA) have to present a back-to-play plan to the NOHA.

Most minor hockey associations in Canada are now relying on a 50-player cohort and the rules of play have also been altered in an attempt to avoid face-to-face interactions where the novel coronavirus is most easily spread. That means no intentional physical contact like body checking or fighting and play will be three-on-three or four-on-four, with a continuous flow off the bench to keep players away from each other.