Dear Humber Valley families,
I hope you are enjoying a safe and relaxing summer. I know that many of you are getting anxious to get back into the rink. While that is the goal, the safety of all stakeholders remains the priority, and a slow and very considered approach is being taken at all levels of minor hockey. At this time no one knows when minor hockey organizations will be given the go ahead to reopen. However, the rules around return-to-play are evolving.
Earlier this month, the Ontario government announced it will allow individual and small group skills development training without the need for approval. In other words, private instructors may conduct on-ice training in small groups of up to 10 people including the instructor. Health and safety protocols will be enforced by each individual facility and will follow advice from regional health authorities.
As for sanctioned activity across the GTHL, the GTHL Board of Directors has not yet given organizations under its jurisdiction permission to reopen. Reopening will only be considered when it is deemed safe to do so. At this time, no sanctioned programming by any GTHL member, any of its teams, or any of its team officials is permitted. This means any activity by any GTHL club including Humber Valley remains unapproved and therefore uninsured.
We will continue to inform you as this situation develops. The most current information will be posted to our Facebook page and you may also visit the GTHL’s return-to-play FAQ page which is updated on an ongoing basis.
Potential Impact to A & AA Season
There exists a possibility that competitive hockey is delayed or does not get the green light to proceed next season. For this reason, we are highly recommending that all competitive level players register in our house league program for the upcoming season. This will ensure that we have a more accurate enrollment number as the City of Toronto intends to open only required facilities, and have requested that all organizations commit to ice contracts for next year despite the ongoing uncertainty. We want to ensure that Humber Valley has enough ice to accommodate all players who wish to play and we do not want to turn any player away.
If we are unable to provide competitive level programs, we will look at a tiered house league approach where competitive players will be grouped together. If in fact we are able to provide A & AA level programs, we will make the internal transfer of registration and all players will return to competitive level play within the GTHL.You can expect to hear more from the VP of GTHL and your coaching staff shortly.
House League Registration for the 2020-21 Season
We opened house league registration in June and the response has been strong. There remains no fee to enroll and secure your player’s spot. This risk-free registration allows us to forecast our ice requirements and costs, and we encourage all players to register by August 15th if there is an intention to play next season. Final season fees will be determined once a return-to-play date is finalized.
Return-to-Play Parent Survey
While we do not yet know when the GTHL will allow member organizations to reopen, we do know that when the time comes, it will not be a “normal” hockey season. A number of modifications to our programs are being considered to ensure a safe return-to-play. At this time, the Humber Valley board of directors is identifying feasible return-to-play scenarios for all levels of play within our organization. Once alternatives are identified, we will be seeking the input of all Humber Valley families via a short survey to be sent to all 2019-20 and current 2020-21 registrants. I encourage you to participate and voice your opinions. Your feedback is essential in helping us assess the alternatives to determine the best options for a safe return-to-play.
Building Humber Valley’s Path Forward
Last month we announced that we are in the process of developing a long-term strategic plan for our organization. As part of our new path forward we will be focusing on 4 pillars – (1) the athlete experience, (2) the coaching experience, (3) the family experience and (4) the volunteer experience.
An overarching goal of this plan is to address greater diversity and inclusion within hockey and within our organization to be reflected within all pillars. We are listening and learning and are in the process of reviewing our policies and culture and will be making changes where necessary. This is a permanent priority at Humber Valley – one that we commit to investing time and money into every year from this point forward. We welcome recommendations to further our education on this topic and invite any member of our community that would like to get involved in this process to reach out to me directly.
Similarly, our governing body the GTHL, is investing in a number of initiatives to further inclusivity and diversity within our game. In August, the GTHL will host a virtual town hall for players, parents, coaches and other stakeholders to examine the issues of racism and discrimination within our game. More details about the town hall can be found here and a date will be announced shortly. We encourage all members to attend in this session. We will provide additional details as they come available.
Call for Volunteers
Volunteers will continue to play a critical role in our path forward. We have a number ongoing roles to fill and will also be implementing a number of new initiatives to enhance the experience of all stakeholders. We would like to invite our members to get involved. If you are interested in sharing your time, experience and skills with us, we would love to hear from you. The types of roles include:
- Leading/involvement in new strategic initiatives
- House league coaches and assistant coaches
- House league convenors
- Event assistance
- Time keepers
- Social media and web development
Please note that we welcome interest from high school, college and university students who require community hours. If you are interested in volunteering, please send your name, contact information and details around the type of role you are interested in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for being part of this community and for your continued patience and understanding as we address the challenges we are facing. As always, I encourage you to reach out with questions or feedback.
President, Humber Valley Hockey Association