Dear Humber Valley families,
Let me start by saying that I hope you are safe and well as we settle into fall. As the dust has now settled on the GTHL announcement to postpone the 2020-21 season until January, I thought this might be a good opportunity to provide some thoughts on the recent weeks and how we at Humber Valley are staying focused on return-to-play.
Current State of Minor Hockey in Toronto and Humber Valley
When I made the decision to return to Humber Valley after 3 years at the GTHL, I did so with great anticipation of working with a fantastic group of volunteers, growing hockey in the west end and challenging some of the norms associated with hockey with new ideas and innovative plans. Who knew that instead of evenings and weekends spent at the rink we would be meeting virtually and managing the complexity of constant uncertainty. This year, we have seen unprecedented events in hockey world –
- The early cancellation of the 2019-20 season across Canada,
- The postponement of the 2020-21 season for all teams under GTHL jurisdiction (the GTHL is the largest minor hockey organization in the world),
- Local GTA hockey leagues announcing the complete cancellation of the 2020-21 hockey season,
- The City of Toronto limiting ice usage to development and no game play with only 10 participants,
- As well as the OHF allowing players to join non sanctioned hockey leagues while GTHL sanctioned hockey is paused.
These changes have been difficult and frustrating for many families and especially for players eager to get back to the game they love. My sons, now 29 and 26, played their minor hockey careers with Humber Valley and I know very well the joy playing provided them as it did my wife and I. While I cannot imagine the conversations you are having with your children, please know that the number one priority continues to be the safety of our players, families, coaches and volunteers. We know that some of you may be looking for on ice solutions and that is a personal choice for you and your family.
Despite all the uncertainty and setbacks caused by the pandemic, our team has been flexible and continued to work hard to develop strong contingency plans. You can rest assured that Humber Valley will be here when sanctioned hockey finally returns and we will have the best possible programming to offer up to our community at that time – programming that will be fun, encourage player development and comply with all the requirements set forth by public health officials.
Our team has also remained focused on long term objectives, developing a strategic framework for growth in the future. The day will come when the coronavirus pandemic is finally behind us – and when it is, we will be positioned to deliver a fun hockey experience for every player that steps onto the ice with a Humber Valley team as well as to collaboratively shape the future of hockey in the west end and in Toronto working with a number of other clubs in our great city.
Recent weeks have seen a significant increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations which certainly challenges our ability to assure a safe return-to-play. At this time we continue to target an early January 2021 date to get our players back on the ice. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep in close contact with the GTHL on these plans and will provide updates as they come available.
I want to personally thank all of our parents, coaches and volunteers for their unrelenting commitment to our Humber Valley players. If you have questions, suggestions or just want to talk hockey I am just an email away so please do not hesitate to reach out.
Wishing you the best in the coming weeks,
President, Humber Valley Hockey Association