It is no secret that youth sports have drastically changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Hockey presents challenges that are different from other sports because it takes place indoors. Add in the fact that it is often more difficult to teach kids social distancing than adults and this adds for a tricky situation.

 

New Guidelines

Since hockey is indoors, there are new precautions put in place to help keep everyone safe. One of the biggest issues of hockey is ventilation. With the players, coaches, referees, and fans, it is important to have a top-notch ventilation system in place. This means increasing access to fresh air and decreasing access to recycled air. A lot of rinks are not equipped with the proper ventilation system and will need to be updated before a match takes place.

 

Off the Rink

Unfortunately, safety concerns do not stop when players exit the rink. The locker room presents other concerns about COVID-19. r example, the use of locker rooms should be llmiited as much as possible. Players need to report to the hockey match with their full uniforms on, even their skates! If players need to be in the locker room, social distancing guidelines should be followed. For players who need parental assistance in the locker room, the number of parents in the room must also be limited.

 

Disinfecting Equipment

In terms of training, sanitization measures have been put in place for equipment that will be used by multiple players. Specifically, helmets, sticks, and skates must be disinfected after each practice. Additionally, clothing that is worn during hockey should be washed at a high temperature to eradicate any germs that may be lurking.

 

Social Impact

Even if the match looks a little different, youth are still getting the opportunity to play a sport that they love. This is a great way to connect with other kids during a time when a lot of kids are stuck at home. This is also great for players who have put a lot of work into their hockey skills. They have the opportunity to continue to better their skills on the rink while still staying safe. This is one step closer to what the world once knew as “normal.”