Adult hockey groups weighing options amid countless COVID restrictions at Island rink

Late ice slots, no changerooms or outside teams allowed and cost factors all weighing heavily

Fuller Lake Vintage Flyers, back row, from left, include: Barry Ronningen, Dave Peters, Dirk Tolman, Rich Harnish, Bernie Fall, Darren Moore, Lonny Ferguson, Steve Fisher. Front: Lorne Dubinsky, Tod LeSergent, Morris MacDonald, Greg McBrine, Darren Thomson, Jerry Keller, Michel Guimond. Absent: Brian Lundberg, Garry Matson, Stan Miller, Trevor March, Rick Jones, Mark Traer. (Photo submitted)

Fuller Lake Vintage Flyers, back row, from left, include: Barry Ronningen, Dave Peters, Dirk Tolman, Rich Harnish, Bernie Fall, Darren Moore, Lonny Ferguson, Steve Fisher. Front: Lorne Dubinsky, Tod LeSergent, Morris MacDonald, Greg McBrine, Darren Thomson, Jerry Keller, Michel Guimond. Absent: Brian Lundberg, Garry Matson, Stan Miller, Trevor March, Rick Jones, Mark Traer. (Photo submitted)

Adult hockey groups at Fuller Lake Arena in Chemainus are wondering about the feasibility of many aspects of the Return to Play guidelines amid COVID-19.

Late ice times are a primary concern as well as not having the opportunity to play against other teams and numerous conditions that will quite literally take the fun out of the game.

The earliest ice time available after Oct. 13 for adult groups in a memo released by reception and booking clerk May Logan is 8:10 p.m. on Saturdays. It only gets worse from there, with a Sunday slot going from 10:45 p.m. to 12:05 a.m.

No groups are receiving a set ice time this year, Logan indicated, “but we will try to get as close as we can to what you want. This will depend on how many teams are wanting to play this season.”

The available ice times are: Mondays – 8:30-9:50 p.m. and 10:20-11:30 p.m.; Tuesdays – 10:40 p.m.-midnight; Wednesdays – 10:05-11:30 p.m.; Thursdays – 10:30 p.m.-midnight; Fridays – 9:50-11:20 p.m.; Saturdays – 8:10-9:30 p.m. and 10-11:20 p.m.; and Sundays – 8:55-10:15 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.-12:05 a.m.

Requests were due to be sent in by Sept. 4.

On top of that, there’s a long list of COVID protocols expected from teams, including the following:

• All groups will be required to complete a ViaSport BC COVID-19 Return to Play Form.

• All players must be part of the same team (termed ‘in-club’ play).

• Interclub or regional game play is prohibited at this time.

• Teams cannot challenge other teams.

• All participants will be required to wash and/or sanitize hands when entering the arena area.

• Maximum group size is 18 players, with two goalies and eight players per side.

• Game play must be four-on-four.

• Physical distancing must occur on and off the ice.

• There’s absolutely no physical contact between players. For penalties, there will be a penalty shot with no players serving penalties in the penalty box.

• No faceoffs will occur.

• Physical distancing must be maintained in the player’s box and while entering/exiting the ice surface.

• All players will enter the facility through the top main entrance.

• One member of the team must be the “host” and check players in when they arrive.

• All players will be asked to fill in a COVID-19 questionnaire and record all responses.

• If players answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions, they will not be allowed to enter the arena.

• The check-in sheets will be collected by sanitizing staff after the group is finished its ice time.

• Players can arrive 15 minutes before their ice time, will need to come dressed and use the lower warm room as the location to put on their skates. Dressing rooms are currently closed and that will be reassessed in the late fall 2020.

• Players will have 10 minutes after their ice time to pack up gear and leave through the lower entrance to allow time for staff to sanitize the area for the next group.

• Water bottles must be filled at home, not at the rink.

• Players seen spitting and/or nose blowing in an unsanitary manner in the facility will be asked to leave immediately.

• No spectators are allowed into the building to watch these ice times.

Richard Harnish of the Fuller Lake Vintage Flyers noted the Return to Play plan isn’t at all what his team expected or is very keen about, even though the reasons for it are understandable.

Late times are always a problem, he indicated.

“We lost all our regular ice slots, which I understand is temporary for this year only, at least I hope that’s so anyway.”

Going down the list, Harnish sees nothing but issues.

“The fact we can only inter-squad scrimmage, no games or outside teams are allowed to come in, that there’s no changerooms (showers) available, and all of us having to show up already dressed to play (imagine the goalies driving to Fuller Lake all geared up), and never mind the costs now which will be decidedly higher, spread out over lesser guys if they even agree to come out – that’s always an issue for teams any year – ugh.”

He added the four-on-four scrimmaging would be OK, but the costs are a big issue.

With only 18 players maximum per session, including two goalies, the ice costs aren’t going down, Harnish pointed out, as far as he’s aware, so the affordability is questionable.

“In short, I can’t see many guys wanting to come out to play effectively a late night drop-in. Financially, we’d probably be better off to suspend our operations until we can get back to a more ‘normal’ scenario. I’ve heard of other teams saying that until there’s changerooms and showers available they won’t even consider playing.”

A couple of Victoria teams the Vintage Flyers usually play against have suspended operations for the season and will revisit it all next September. “I suspect that will be what many will end up doing,” reasoned Harnish.

“It’s hard enough to organize during normal operations, now with COVID it’s impacted even moreso.”

Harnish indicated the Vintage Flyers have put in for the better of the ice slots, but he’s not overly confident many guys will want to sign up as things are now.

“We are being open-minded and hope we can do something but it will be a huge challenge,” he added. “We are naturally disappointed. There was no summer hockey and now it looks as if getting to play this season is questionable.”

Harnish was willing to bet a few wives would have some things to say about the situation.

“We don’t have enough players to be against ourselves,” remarked Dave Bodger of the Possum Lodgers team.

“It’s not the same playing against your own team.”

Coronavirushockey

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

 

The Small Block rec hockey tournament occurred on the final weekend before the pandemic restrictions occurred in March. Because of COVID restrictions, those teams might not be playing at all this season. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Small Block rec hockey tournament occurred on the final weekend before the pandemic restrictions occurred in March. Because of COVID restrictions, those teams might not be playing at all this season. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Just Posted

The School District 71 DPAC hosted an online forum for candidates hoping to fill a vacant board of education position. Screenshot, SD71 DPAC Facebook page
Six make their pitch to fill empty school board seat in Comox Valley

District’s parents advisory council hosted the online forum for Area C candidates

Many of the static aircraft displays are decorated in thousands of lights for almost the entire month of December at the airpark on Military Row in Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
VIDEO: Christmas lights on display at 19 Wing airpark

Per COVID-19 rules, viewing of the display is strongly encouraged by vehicle and not exiting the car

GP Vanier grad Samantha Rebitt has earned the 2020 Governor General’s Academic Medal, with an academic average of 99.8 per cent. Photo supplied
GP Vanier announces its 2020 Governor General’s Academic Medal winner

Samantha Rebitt had a near-perfect 99.8 per cent academic average

The suspect in a Nov. 22 attempted robbery at the Ryan Road 7-Eleven has been arrested. Photo supplied
Courtenay man arrested in connection with attempted robbery at 7-Eleven

A 19-year old Courtenay man has been arrested following an attempted robbery… Continue reading

The Nov. 20 WestJet flight 3171 has been identified by the BC Centre for Disease Control with a COVID case aboard. (Black Press file photo)
COVID-19 exposure reported on a fifth flight at Comox airport

Another exposure risk from flight originating in Calgary

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Letter to the editor.
LETTER – Horgan’s election promise of COVID relief cash is money foolishly spent

Dear editor, Would you dip into your child’s registered education fund to… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Most Read