Williams Lake Blue player Hayden Grinder flips the puck deep into the Williams Lake Red Ravens’ zone during last year’s Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association’s Jeff Alexander Memorial Midget Hockey Tournament. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Organizers move forward with COVID-restricted hockey season in Williams Lake

The executive has been working hard throughout the summer to come up with a plan

While the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association executive is working and planning to make the upcoming hockey season as normal as possible, new president Mike Rispin said, overall, everyone should expect a completely different year.

“It’s a bit of a crazy year to become president,” Rispin said of the laundry list of health and safety guidelines WLMHA required to follow prior to hitting the ice for its 2020/21 season.

“We’re trying to make it as competitive and normal as humanly possible, but there will be a lot of controls in place.”

As per requirements set out by viaSport, BC Hockey and Hockey Canada, phase two of the ‘return to hockey’ plan requires two metres physical distancing, no non-essential travel, no group over 50 people, modified play and no or limited spectators. The also recently-announced (Aug. 24) Phase 3 of the return to sport plan is slated to progressively loosen restrictions.

In Williams Lake, Rispin said the executive has been working hard throughout the summer to come up with a plan that will work for the WLMHA.

READ MORE: WLMHA elects new board, discusses upcoming season at virtual AGM

Players arriving at the arena will be required to enter through the ‘arena side’ entrance.

“There’s a right and a left path,” Rispin said. “One side for in, the other for out.”

Initiation and novice division practices and games will take place at Total Ice Training Centre, which has its own COVID-19 safety protocols in place, he added.

All other divisions will play at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex (CMRC).

“Parents and kids are going to have to remember to bring their own water bottles, and players should come as dressed as they can,” Rispin said. “We’re insisting it for younger age groups and recommending it for older. There will also be social and physical distancing in dressing rooms enforced and, that means, unfortunately, a lot of the camaraderie and horseplay among teammates is something that’s going to be frowned upon and really controlled.”

Rispin said kudos go out to the staff at the CMRC and Williams Lake director of community services Ian James for working with the WLMHA.

“Ian and his staff have been absolutely phenomenal in helping us, in working with us providing the signage, and doing whatever works for us as long as its within the guidelines. They’ve done an awesome job.”

Asked whether games will be allowed, Rispin said house teams will be allowed to play against each other.

“There may be some rule changes within those games,” he said. “Maybe they will be three on three to limit contact and faceoffs, but we’re waiting for BC Hockey to give us the rules.”

Teams, meanwhile, will be made up of 16 players in house and, up to 18 in the rep system.

“We’re going to use two dressing rooms, and we’re going to do what we can with social distancing on the benches. The bench situation is probably going to be the one that’s harder to social distance.”

As for the rep side of things, Rispin said tryouts are slated to get underway on Sept. 8.

“I’ve got no rep games lined up outside of Williams Lake because you can’t travel,” he said.

Normally, the WLMHA also has several players from the 100 Mile House and Quesnel areas take part in rep tryouts on both the boys’ and girls’ side, which Rispin noted will still be allowed.

“They won’t be able to practice with a team, though, until BC Hockey signs off on the residential waivering — that’s when a city like 100 Mile House doesn’t have a rep team they can apply to play in the next closest association, which is us — but BC Hockey is not signing off on those until the next phase,” Rispin said. “So they won’t be able to practice or play until that happens.”

A link to the WLMHA’s return to play plan is available at www.wlmha.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Williams Lake Courthouse (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Charges laid following high-speed chase, arrest near Williams Lake Sunday

Tyrell Giroux appeared in Williams Lake Provincial Court on Monday, Oct. 26

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

Youth across B.C. took part in the Student Vote. In Cariboo Chilcotin BC Green Party David Laing got the most votes and in Cariboo North BC NDP Party Scott Elliott emerged the winner.  (Student Vote photo)
BC Student Vote 2020: Green Party wins Cariboo Chilcotin, NDP wins Cariboo North

Student vote for Cariboo ridings has different outcomes than general voting

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Tyrell Giroux was arrested by Williams Lake RCMP on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Facebook video screenshot)
Tsilhqot’in leaders call for suspension of officers seen in controversial Williams Lake arrest

Disturbing video demands an immediate, independent investigation, says TNG

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Most Read