WINNIPEG — Hockey Manitoba is one step closer to having players return to full action, as it announced the second phase of its Return to Play plan has been approved.
As part of the approval, players will be allowed to return to team sanctioned events starting on Sept. 1.
Those events will include on-ice skill development, drills, tryouts, team tactics, and online or in-person clinics.
However, all of these events are not allowed to have contact.
Spectators are also allowed at sporting facilities, up to 50 per cent capacity or as per the facility requirements.
The new plan has several rules that must be followed for on-ice practices.
Players are told they should stagger entering the ice from the dressing room and players and coaches must observe physical distancing while on the ice.
Coaches are being told to minimize “chalk talk” or “board talk” that usually sees players gather in close.
Coaches are also being told to speak to players at least two metres away.
When teams are on the ice, they are allowed their maximum roster size. If two teams are sharing one arena, they must remain on their half of the ice.
Benches are only allowed to have 10 people on it at a time and coaches are told to avoid drills that require players to stand in lines or groups for a long period of time.
When practice is over, coaches are told to dismiss players one at a time to allow proper spacing.
Spectators are also being asked to stay in the stands until everyone is off the ice and then they are being encouraged to leave the facility immediately. If players need assistance, one parent per player is allowed to stay and help the child.
If there are programs that are looking to start earlier than the Sept. 1 start time, they are required to submit a request in writing to Hockey Manitoba.
Hockey Manitoba added that it continues to work on Phase Three and hopes it will be approved in the near future.
Phase Three would feature competition, gameplay, contact, and travel.
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