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Minor hockey underway but with tough restrictions

October 16, 2020   ·   0 Comments

While local hockey players are glad to be back on the ice, they are facing some tough challenges when it comes to playing by the new rules.

Currently, hockey remains in what is known as Stage 3B of the return to hockey framework.

Players are grouped into bubbles of 50. Teams are smaller.

As of now, traditional five-on-five hockey is not being played.

Instead, they are playing three-on-three or four-on-four depending on age groups and divisions.

The rules of the game itself has been changed. There are no face-offs and no physical contact.

Even with the current restrictions, the Tornados executive have announced that around 80 per cent of their players from last year have registered for this season.

There is a good side to this new style of play. With few kids on the ice and smaller teams, players are getting more ice and more chances to work on their skills.

There are more scoring chances on offence. On defence, the kids are developing better skills as there is more action around the net and opportunities to learn how to shut down an attacking player.

Restrictions as also in place for pre-game and post game activities.

Players must arrive prior to game time and meet as a group. Dressing rooms are limited and players are encouraged to arrive at the arena wearing most of their equipment. Players can put on their skates and helmets in the arena but must wear face coverings when in the area before any practice or game.

There are also some new regulations in place regarding actual play on the ice.

Instead of face-offs, the puck is placed at centre ice and the visiting team will take position from that point to start the game.

When it comes to a scrum in the corners, if it takes to long to break it up, the referee will order them to disengage and the defensive team will be awarded the puck.

If the goaltender freezes the puck, the attacking team must back off and make contact with the blue line.

As of now, it is not known when their may be a return to five-on-five hockey.

Club executives are waiting for directives from Hockey Canada and health authorities to determine when, and if regular style hockey will return this season.

By Brian Lockhart


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