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Register For The Lock Monster 2020-21 Season


Register now for the 2020-2021 Lock Monster Season. Click here to register.  For more information please contact Tom Dockery.
Novice Program ADMIce time once a week
Two 10 Week Sessions- $130 per Session or $105 if you use a Lock Monster jersey from a previous seasonSession 1 – 9/12-11/29                     Session 2 – 12/12-2/20

6uSeason runs September-February$415Save $25 if you use a jersey from a previous season 

8uSeason runs September-February$485Save $25 if you use a jersey from a previous season

USA Hockey Insurance number needed to register

MOHL TeamsSeason Runs September-February
Squirt (10u) – $695
PeeWee (12u) – $760
Bantam (14u) – $895
Midget (16u) – $850Midget (18u) – $850Save $60 if you use a jersey from a previous seasonUSA Hockey Insurance number needed to registerIf a jersey is needed, MOHL players will purchase their jersey/socks from their coach for $60Click here for USA Hockey Registration

Click here for USA Hockey age classifications

Lock Monster Hockey
LYHA Parents – Please be sure that we are taking enhanced health and safety measures to protect our athletes, coaches, referees, parents, spectators and staff to enable a safe return for the 2020-21 season at Cornerstone CFCU Arena. For now, the tower (upper entrance) will remain closed.

All participants and parents should enter the facility from the Market St (lower) entrance.At this time, each minor participant may be accompanied into the rink by one parent/caregiver/spectator/coach/manager. This will help ease the stress that skates and helmets can present as well as allow a parent to watch their child on the ice.

Face masks and social distancing is required. Please see full procedures below.

We are currently registering players for the 2020-21 season. We have openings at all age groups – Novice, 6u, 8u, 10u Mohl, 12u Mohl, 14u Mohl and 16u/18u Mohl – but some are close to maxing out. You can register at Cornerstoneicearena.com Questions? Email Tom Dockery 
Skills Clinics
Monday 6:20-7:20: Skating and Skills (11 and over) – $15

In this clinic, players will be asked to perform skills that are new to them. Through practice and teaching the proper skills, your players overall game will improve making them a more well rounded and smarter hockey player. Skating, shooting, puck handling and edges will be the focus. Tuesday 4:50-5:50: 

High Octane (11 and over) – $15In this clinic, players will perform over speed and puck handling skills. Individual skills will be performed and then those skills will be put to the test in high intensity drills. Shooting in stride, catching and shooting pucks, passing and stickhandling will all be covered in up tempo drills. Wednesday 3:30-4:30: 

Skating and Skills (All Ages) – $15This clinic will focus on basic and advance skating and skill work which will include edges, over speed and passing. Each day will progress into more advanced skills. Line skating and drills will be done. This clinic makes your player a better skater while working on high end skills. Thursday 4:50-5:50: 

Defensive Skills ( 8 and over) – $15This clinic is not just for D-men as every player needs to know how to play defensively. We will work on skating with and without the puck, footwork, gap control, angling, shooting and proper stick placement. This clinic will make your player a better defensively sound player along with making them smarter on the ice. The best skill a D-man has is his or her brain and we will focus and train on how to slow the game down.
You must pe-register for all clinics on our website http://www.cornerstoneicearena.com/registration/

As part of pre-registration, you will electronically sign the Cornerstone CFCU Arena waiver.  For us to maintain everyone’s safety, we will require all customers to adhere to our new guidelines.  These guidelines will be emailed to customers after pre-registration is complete. Please send money/check in an envelope with participant’s name on it. You can also call in payments by Card. 716-438-7698

Superior Ice Rink/COVID 19 Update


From Rich at Superior Ice Rink:

UPDATE: After 6 months many of Superior Ice Rink’s activities are back up and
running. Camps, clinics, puckshoots, Rec League no contact practices, Mini-mite
program, Learn to skate program, LI Royals no contact practices, HS team no
contact practices, private lessons, and pro shop are all back and running.

customers and staff for following and implementing all the safety practices and
protocols in place to help keep all healthy and playing.

Unfortunately and frustratingly, despite the continued decrease in Covid-19
cases throughout Long Island and NY, we are still unable to play games of any
kind, youth or adult, inside the borders of NYS. Currently Connecticut, New
Hampshire, Pennsylvania are permitted to play with various restrictions and
protocols. I understand New Jersey and Mass are close to being allowed to play
in some form shortly as well. It is my further understanding NYS will not consider
same in NY for what they determine to be ‘high risk sports’ like ice hockey at this

So you all are aware, I, along with other industry leaders, as well as NYSAHA
representatives, have been working hard establishing protocols and creating
proposals for our state representatives consideration. Our proposal is
summarized as follows:

  1. PHASE 1 – 8/19 – Immediate recognition of current NYS return to play
    guidelines (camp/clinic private lessons) by USA Hockey with
    clarifications for team practices within these guidelines. THIS WAS
  2. PHASE2 – PROPOSED – Sept 1 return to in house only, no checking
    games and scrimmages. THIS WAS NOT CONSIDERED BY NYS Govt.
  3. PHASE 3 – PROPOSED – Oct 1 return to regional travel hockey only
  4. PHASE 4 – PROPOSED – NOV 1 return to interstate travel hockey. THIS
    This proposal also included much detail with regard to proper social distancing off
    the ice, locker room usage restrictions, spectators in bldg., occupancy restrictions,
    cleaning procedures, etc.. We felt that this phased in approach gave the hockey
    community the ability to meet our customers needs in the safest possible manner
    without them having to, unsafely, travel outside the state to do so. Rationale;
    Phase 1 was already in place, Phase 2 (non contact in house only play) is, in
    reality, NO FURTHER RISK THEN THE ACTIVITIES already running and approved in
    phase 1, AND Phase 3 and 4 were sufficiently post dated to allow for NYS to
    evaluate the impact of return to school and other such activities on the Covid-19
  5. However, I’m told despite ALL of the neighboring states doing so, NYS
    will STILL not consider this.
    NOW, as I warned in my correspondence with many hockey and state
    officials, the unintended, but COMPLETELY ANTICIPATED, consequences are now
    taking place. USA Hockey has directed NYSAHA to certify all travel team rosters
    and not prohibit them from traveling and playing games in states where such
    restrictions have been lifted. Thus creating, in my opinion, a more unsafe
    situation then had they approved our proposal with a phased in, IN STATE,
    approach until Nov 1. I’m told NYS, in the event there is an outbreak due to such
    activity, will move to restrict/prohibit all out of state ‘high risk’ sports activities. If
    this Is even legal, let alone enforceable is quite suspect. (Will they check peoples
    trunks for hockey equip at border crossings!?) At this point, I don’t know what
    they are thinking. They certainly do not understand ice hockey, its structure or
    risks, nor wish to try to. They are not coordinating with surrounding states nor
    seem to wish to try to. Bottom line is, right now our kids can practice here, non
    contact, but need to leave the state to play games. Backwards, yes!, Stupid,
    agreed! I’m sure there are a few other adjectives that are appropriate. Choose
    your own.
    If you choose to travel out of state to play games, please be safe. It will only take
    one case to shut our facilities down again within NYS. And then more kids will
    leave the state to play on weekends, only to return to their local schools on
    Monday. ????? I can assure all we will encourage the safest possible measures
    be used in all of our programs. Travel and in house.
  6. Recreational League – Spring/Summer Rec 2020 season – All teams are set up
    and practicing. However, games can still not be played. We will be putting in
    skills competitions in the upcoming weeks to add some variety. We will keep
    all of you posted with regard to NYS game play restriction developments.
    FALL/WINTER Rec 2020-21 Season – We are holding off putting out this
    program brochure until we have return to play games date established.
  7. Mini-Mite Program Begins again 9/14
  8. Friday Night Clinics Begin again 9/4
  9. Mens League- As above. Waiting on game play restriction lifted by NYS.
  10. LI Royals travel Teams – Regular in season practice schedules starting 9/7.
    OFF Ice Training beginning 9/7 as well. Games are permitted out of state
  11. Learn to Skate – Learn to skate is BACK on the ice. Wednesdays, Saturdays
    and Sundays. Contact Renee for Details.
  12. Private Instruction- Please contact your individual instructor.
  13. FIT Athletics Gym- Projected Gym Reopening 9/7/2020 –
  14. Public Sessions- All Sessions are cancelled until further notice.
    10.Puckshoots ARE being Scheduled. Check Website for dates and times.
    I hope all this info helps, our staff will be following all necessary protocols and
    need YOUR help too to keep everyone safe! See you at the rink.!

OJHL 2020-21 Season Update


“OJHL provides update on plans for the start of the 2020-2021 OJHL Season”

Mississauga, ON – The Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) released an update on the league’s plan for the start of the 2020-21 OJHL season. 

The league has developed season schedules with start dates as early as October or November, 2020 with various other operational start dates dependent on governmental authorizations to fully commence.The schedules vary in the number of games, league alignment, and playoff structure depending on the length of the season that the league will be able to play within the permitted timelines. 

After working closely with Hockey Canada, the Canadian Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey Federation, the Ontario Hockey Association, local health authorities and civic municipalities where our teams play and with our teams themselves and their respective organizations, the OJHL is pleased to announce thatteams are heading back to the ice to start Phase 1 – Training – this week with a September plan that has been developed as part of the OJHL Return to the Rink plan.Teams must follow all regional and local guidelines with the re-entry into the arenas. 

As part of the OJHL implementation of the plan all processes will be reviewed and any required adjustments will be made moving into October. 

“As announced on July 31, 2020 the OJHL will start the season once our governing authorities have granted permission to begin full games,” said Marty Savoy, OJHL Commissioner.“The OJHL can appreciate that a number of Junior leagues have made decisions to not start until a determined number of fans are allowed in buildings, however this will not be a factor in the opening of the OJHL’s season.

The reality is that all leagues are in the same position regarding when we will be given permission to start our seasons and the goal of the OJHL is to be fully prepared to start once that permission is provided with the safety of our players and staff at the forefront of any return date.” 

The league’s plan for regular season schedules include a full inter-league format to conference or divisional-only play. Playoffs formats include the traditional 7-games series and 4 rounds to reduced games per series and possible single elimination. Included in the OJHL’s return plan is a Parent and Player document that will be distributed to each player and family outlining the OJHL return processes that are required. 

“The goal of the OJHL’s return plan has always been to get players back on the ice to continue their development with safety at the forefront of every step of the process,” stated OJHL Chairman Marc Mercier. “Our league has had weekly and monthly calls with our teams keeping them informed of our return plan. This includes meetings with our Athletic Therapist and COVID 19 Team Liaisons to ensure all teams are prepared and educated on the new processes that have been developed.”

Lockport Youth Hockey Association’s COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

At the Cornerstone Ice Arena, our home arena, it is expected that everyone will follow the guidelines of each arena you visit, once travel is permitted. For now, the tower (upper) entrance from Grigg Lewis Way will remain closed.

All participants should enter the facility from the Market Street (lower) entrance. 

SELF-SCREENING PRIOR TO ENTRY:We expect all Lockport Youth Hockey Association players or family will refrain from attending any team events, or enter the arena if any of the below apply. If they do apply, then you must notify your coach or manager immediately. *

After taking a temperature reading one hour prior to a scheduled event you have a temperature of 100.4 or greater;* Feeling sick or experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms (including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea);*

If you have been diagnosed with, or believe to have contracted, COVID-19, unless you have had no fever for 72 hours (without use of medicine) and 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared;*

If you have been in contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 14 days; and* If you have traveled internationally or to an area on the current NYS Travel Advisory list in the past 14 days. 

FACE COVERINGS:Every person entering the arena (over the age of 2) must wear a protective facial covering (one which fully covers their mouth and nose) at all times while inside the arena, except while skating.

HAND CLEANING AND SANITIZING:Every person entering the arena must utilize usage of the hand sanitizer station in the vestibule of the Market Street entrance. Every person must again utilize the hand sanitizer station located inside each arena as they leave. Proper handwashing should be observed anytime a participant uses the bathroom facilities. 

SOCIAL DISTANCING:Anyone not in your household will be expected to maintain six (6) feet from others, whenever possible. 

FACILITY USE – PARTICIPANTS:Skaters may not arrive more than 15 minutes prior to their scheduled ice time, must enter through the Market Street entrance (lower level) and report to the assigned locker room. Skaters should select a designated seat within the locker room to keep belongings and get ready.

Just prior to taking the ice, skaters may remove their masks and properly secure their helmets. Players are to wait in designated locker rooms until the ice is ready and the Zamboni doors are closed. Players will enter/exit the ice through the gate closest to their locker room.

At the curfew buzzer, the team should clean up pucks, collect water bottles and immediately return to locker room. Skaters have 10 minutes to change, retrieve belongings and exit wearing a mask. When leaving arena area, skaters should again utilize the hand sanitizer station, then follow the directional arrows for exiting. *

Locker room bathrooms and showers are closed.

Spitting will not be tolerated anywhere within the facility.

As much as possible, skaters should maintain 6′ social distancing on and off the ice.All warmup and cool down activities must be conducted outside of the rink.

NO off ice or dryland training is allowed inside the facility.Skaters should bring their own water bottles (filled) and clearly labeled with their names.

There will be no sharing of water bottles or equipment. Novice, 6U and 8U Mites, and 9U and 10U Squirts: Skaters may enter the building with a small duffle bag containing helmet, gloves, water bottle and skates. All other equipment must be worn into entering and exiting the building. Novice and mites will not have locker room access. 

FACILITY USE – ACCOMPANYING ADULT:At this time, each minor participant may be accompanied by only one (1) parent/caregiver/spectator/coach/manager. Every person entering the arena (over the age of 2) must wear a protective facial covering (one which fully covers their mouth and nose) at all times while inside the arena, except while skating.

Spectators will be directed to designated areas at ice level, to observe the practice and must remain in that location, socially distanced for the duration of the ice session. No one will be permitted upstairs, or in the warming areas. The concession stand is closed at this time.

NOTIFY LYHA IF ANY PLAYER TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19:If any player tests positive for Covid-19, LYHA requires the parent(s) to immediately notify the Head Coach of the player’s team and the Director of Hockey, Tom Dockery at tdockery@cornerstoneicearena.com

The Head Coach and Tom Dockery will make the decision on who needs to be notified based on who may have had contact with the player. Players that had potential contact will be requested to follow CDC guidelines which may include self-quarantine or testing. 

RETURN TO PLAY POLICY REGARDING COVID-19:Any player who receives a positive COVID-19 test must wait two weeks and be symptom free for a minimum of three days before returning to team activities. Any player feeling ill or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must wait two weeks or receive a negative COVID-19 test before returning to team activities. 

If you believe you have been directly exposed to COVID-19, please wait two weeks, or receive a negative test before returning to team activities.

Coach Quarters Opening Soon

NewEdge Hockey Development Academy is excited to announce our Coach Quarters at Holiday Twin Rinks! In additon to our on-ice player and team development services and our state of the art Strength Center at Holiday Twin Rinks, NEHDA is opening our Coach Quarters.

Coach Quarters is a 1000 square foot, full access, rink level coach resource facility with state of the art training aids including NHL ProScreens, Deflectors, Variable Overload Training Devices, Give-n-Go Rebounders, Cones, Tires, Buckets of Pucks, Weighted Orange Pucks, White (Goalie) Pucks, Portable 1-Touch Erase LCD Coach Boards, Stand In Goalies, EdgePro Devices, Shot Blockers, as well as many other training aids.

In addition to the incredible selection of training aids, the Coach Quarters will have multiple, internet live computers, a printer, a rolling hockey white board, a conference table/chairs, a SPARX skate sharpener, and everything else a coach/staff will need to run an efficient and effective practice.
Construction Begins Soon!

If you would like additional information, please email us at

In The Bubble With Brogan Rafferty


By The Utica Comets —

Bubble life in Edmonton is the new norm for the Vancouver Canucks and the team’s black aces who are taking on a chase for the Stanley Cup. For Brogan Rafferty, the goal is trying to stay busy and enjoy the moments, while remaining ready in case his number is called.

Utica Comets: We have to know. Is this the strangest travel hockey tournament you’ve ever been a part of?

Brogan Rafferty: Absolutely. For me, it’s a lot different as one of the Black Aces, but it’s literally just a big hockey tournament. When you’re a kid and you’re walking around the rink and see all the teams wearing their jackets and you watch other teams play in their games and stay in the same hotels. It’s basically all that just with the best players in the world. It’s pretty fun being able to watch free NHL hockey games and seeing those guys walk around the bubble who you’ve grown up watching is pretty cool.

UC: You’re from just outside Chicago and you were a teenager when the Blackhawks started their run of a few Stanley Cups. Have you had any chance encounters with some of the guys from those teams you grew up cheering for?

BR: I was in the elevator with (Jonathan) Toews, just me and him. We went up and, just to break the silence, we started chatting a little bit and that was pretty cool.

UC: Were you like “Hold that door!” and the guy holding the door was Jonathan Toews? Or were you in the lobby together and thinking “I don’t want to speak first”?

BR: I think I got in first and he came just around the corner. We were just talking about the air conditioning units in the hotel because they went out the first week we were here. So we were kinda just talking about how hopefully they get fixed soon.

UC: Sounds like you played it cool.

BR: Yeah, I kept my cool (laughing)

UC: What are you doing to stay busy? Playing a few holes in the golf simulator? Going to the basketball court? Playing ping pong?

BR: It’s a little tough to find things to keep you busy. The golf simulator was fun, but you still want some real grass under your feet. Lots of guys are playing video games, but I’m not a gamer so I don’t have any of that going for me. There’s not a whole lot to do besides go to the rink and watch the games or maybe play a few holes on the golf simulator.

UC: What’s the experience been like being the only fans who are at the games?

BR: It’s pretty crazy. The setup is unique with the big screens and the coverings on the seats. The league has done a good job trying to create some sort of atmosphere with the music and fan noise and lights and all that stuff. It is really weird not having the fans in the stands though, we miss them.

UC: Where have you been sitting when you’re actually watching the games?

BR: We are just above the 100 level in a suite right behind one of the nets.

UC: What about meals? Are you just hitting room service over and over?

BR: Breakfast is provided and there’s a lunch that you can grab if you want a small power bowl or something like that. Dinner is on your own. There’s a restaurant in the lobby of the hotel and two more in the lobby of the hotel near the rink and that’s pretty much it for food. I’ve eaten at those plenty of times.

UC: Who has stepped up as the guy with the most style now that there are no dress codes that require suits or anything of the sort?

BR: Definitely not Hughsey (Quinn Hughes). It’s pretty casual. The team gave us some stuff to wear to games so we’re pretty much matching. Walking around on off days and stuff guys will bust out some of their clothes. Petey’s (Elias Petterson) got some pretty flashy clothes and Stech (Troy Stecher) is a good dresser. I like his style.

UC: Have you seen any bad blood spill over from the ice to the hotel or is that something that doesn’t happen?

BR: There’s none of that going on. For the most part you’re with your team and you’re just walking past the other teams. Guys have been settling everything on the ice.

UC: Is it just business all the time every second of every day or are there some chances to be social at all?

BR: After the qualifying rounds, every single series on the west coast was done in four games out of five. So some of the winning teams and losing teams were in the restaurant downstairs at our hotel. So there was a couple hundred hockey players in the same place with nothing to do the next day so that was pretty fun. It was cool to see everyone together and guys who played together and there was some overlap and great stories that were going around.

Laura Pavone Added To Beauts Front Office Staff


It has been announced that Laura Pavone will be joining the Buffalo Beauts for the 2020-21 season as the Social Media Manager.

Congratulations to Laura, a former player for several seasons in the Western New York Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Federation.

NEHDA Is Looking For Talent…


NewEdge Hockey Development Academy is in yet another growth mode and in need of energetic, motivated, knowledgeable hockey trainers. Coaching hockey and training hockey players are 2 COMPLETELY different animals and both require a certain set of skills in order to be effective. Even playing the game at a high level does not always translate into being able to train at a high level.

NewEdge Hockey Development Academy has exceptionally high standards simply because our mission is to give our customers the BEST hockey training service in the industry. Our professional trainers are improving every single day through research, mentors, NHL, AHL, and NCAA D1 contacts and by studying the latest skating and skill teaching techniques used at the highest levels of the game.

We live by the motto, “if you stop getting better, you will soon stop being good” which is a constant reminder for us for continued trainer development and improvements. The game of hockey continues to change and how hockey players train has changed as well. We do not “run kids through drills” , we teach, inform, educated, motivate, challenge, and develop players from the level of beginners all the way to our NHL clients.

We have an array of opportunities in both the Rochester and Buffalo, NY markets so if this sounds like something you would like to learn more about, please email us at info@newedgehockey.com

“Small Saves”


Here is this week’s edition of “Small Saves.” Enjoy!

Ellis Named Sabres Director of Player Development


By Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com 

The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has named Matt Ellis director of player development.

Ellis, who played 356 games in the NHL over nine seasons, including 286 for the Sabres from 2009 until 2015, has spent the past four years working for the Academy of Hockey at LECOM Harborcenter. He started as a development coach and was named director in September 2019. 

Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams originally hired Ellis at the Academy of Hockey.

“The traits that made Matt a successful NHL player are the same ones that have made him successful in player development in the years since,” Adams said in a statement. “It’s evident through his thorough planning and execution that Matt is passionate about developing young talent and our players will benefit from his approach to the game.”  

Ellis, a native of Wellington, Ontario, also played for the Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings. 

Throughout his career, Ellis played a leadership role in the Sabres developmental system, serving as captain of the Sabres AHL affiliate for three seasons in both Rochester and Portland. 

Ellis also served as the head of coaching for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres beginning in April 2018. During his time with the organization, Ellis also coached several teams ranging from the 9U to 13U levels.

(nhl.com photos)



The Western New York Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Federation is reporting: “The NYSPHSAA officers voted today (August 31) to delay the start of the winter sports season from November 16th to November 30th to give schools and sections more time to complete the fall athletic season.

The 2020-2021 season is bumped back to Nov. 30th.



NYSPHSAA Continues Preparations for the Return of
Interscholastic Athletics on September 21st

Latham, NY – The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) COVID-19 Task Force met on Monday, August 31st for the fifth time and examined New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidance which provided recommendations for the fall interscholastic athletic season.  The COVID-19 Task Force is developing a comprehensive document with guidance for member schools to utilize as they prepare for the return of interscholastic athletics this fall.  The anticipated release date of the return to interscholastic athletics document is Friday, September 4th

The NYSPHSAA officers voted today to delay the start of the winter sports season from November 16th to November 30th to give schools and sections more time to complete the fall athletic season. The officers also voted to approve revising the number of required practices for fall sport student-athletes (12 practices for football and 10 for all other fall sports).  The NYSPHSAA officers decision also includes waiving the seven consecutive day rule starting on October 12th, continuing to consider the high-risk sports of football and volleyball as fall sports, and restricting games for low and moderate risk sports to compete within their league and/or section until October 19th.

“I am encouraged by the work of our association and state officials to provide the opportunity for schools to offer interscholastic athletics for students this fall,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director.  “Unfortunately all sports will look different and participation will not be the same as it was a year ago, but students will have the chance to represent their school, be around their friends and coaches, and experience a sense of normalcy this fall.  It is critical that student-athletes be leaders in their schools and communities and strictly abide by COVID-19 safety protocols.”

“As the fall sports season starts on September 21st, we felt it was most appropriate to delay the start of the winter sports season by two weeks to afford sections and schools additional time to play the fall sports seasons before the winter seasons began,” said Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA President and Chair of the COVID-19 Task Force, “The Task Force and officers spent a great deal of time discussing these topics to determine what is best for schools and student-athletes.”

With regional differences, schools and areas will continue to be impacted differently by the COVID-19 crisis. At the discretion of the NYSPHSAA officers, if the fall sports seasons are interrupted or impacted by the COVID-19 crisis (i.e. state official guidance, school closings, etc.), then a condensed seasons plan could still be implemented. That decision will be made by the NYSPHSAA officers with the information available at that time.

On July 13th guidance from NYSDOH prohibited any interscholastic athletics until further notice.  On August 24th, Governor Andrew Cuomo provided authorization for fall sports to begin on September 21st.  Governor Cuomo will permit low and moderate risk sports to have competitions this fall, while high risk fall sports will be prohibited from having any games or contests until authorization is granted from New York State officials on or before December 31st.  As per the NYSPHSAA officers decision today, low and moderate risk sports will be restricted to playing games in their own league and/or section until October 19th.

Commonly Asked Questions For 2020-21 Season


USA Hockey Answers Commonly Asked Questions About The Upcoming Season

Last week, USA Hockey asked players, families, coaches, officials and volunteers to submit their questions regarding the upcoming 2020-21 season. After consulting with experts on the various topics of questions asked – including Dr. Michael Stuart from the Mayo Clinic, USA Hockey’s chief medical and safety officer, on the health and safety front – we’ve answered the most common questions below and provided additional resources.


Safety Questions

Question (Rick D. from New York): Has anyone done research, or have an opinion on whether full-face visors would mitigate transmission of COVID-19? If this is the case, a plexiglass face shield would be the equivalent of playing while wearing a mask, something no sport is doing/requiring.

Answer: A full, clear polycarbonate shield offers many of the same attributes as a facial covering; however, there is no scientific evidence to prove better defense against infectious disease transmission. A full clear shield allows the athlete to breathe normally, acts as a barrier in case someone in close proximity coughs or sneezes, decreases face touching and prevents spitting. Your helmet facemask is a personal choice, but a full clear shield may provide a higher level of protection. For more information about the facemask information USA Hockey published, click here.


Updated June 30, 2020

Question (Anthony N.): Understanding that water droplets (even those that may suspend in air for a given time) are likely being expelled into the air through sweat, talking/yelling out drills, and heavier breathing during play, how can a sport like hockey be considered safe, especially with the high potential of direct contact, potentially spreading/sharing water droplets through gear and jerseys? 

Answer: Hockey and other youth sports provide an important vehicle for the physical, social and mental well-being of our children and families. The choice to participate is a personal one. There are responsible ways to play sports and that playing sports provide positive health benefits for physical, social and mental well-being, but there is always some level of risk. The chance of viral transmission from hockey gear or jerseys is unknown. Risk can be reduced by frequent hand sanitation, avoid touching the face and disinfection of equipment and jerseys after each use.

Question (John F. from Connecticut): Would you please provide some input as to what you would suggest be the protocol for a team who has a player who tests positive?  Should they continue to practice and play games or should there be some protocol to ensure safety?

Answer: The infected player should be immediately isolated and treated as necessary. The COVID-19 case is reported to the local public health authorities and their recommendations should be followed. Any teammates who were in close contact, defined by the CDC as 15 minutes within six feet, need to be tested, and follow personal care physician recommendations from the last contact, since they could develop an infection at any point during that time period. The initial test is needed to determine if they were infected at the time of the contact, possibly from a common source.

Question (Caroline G.): Our youth hockey team is striving to implement the safest possible measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while practicing or playing hockey. Is there any reason that we should not adopt a policy that team coaches and managers must inform players and their families that someone else who was with the team (player, manager, or coach) tested positive?  No names would need to be disclosed, just the fact that someone with whom others were on the ice tested positive.

Answer: Yes, all close contacts who may have been exposed to the virus should be notified without identification of the infected person in compliance with HIPPA laws. This protects the individual’s identity, but allows for teammates and families to take necessary action such as testing and self-isolating.

Question (Karen S. from South Dakota): I am the hockey development coordinator for a small, 100% volunteer association. The question I am asked most frequently is: “Why can’t we use locker rooms if the players are wearing masks?” We have hockey players in our association from at least six different school districts. Am I being overly restrictive to suggest we are minimizing potential exposure risk by not using locker rooms?

Answer: You should follow the policy of your local arena on the use of locker rooms. Multiple people congregating less than six feet apart in an enclosed space without wearing a mask are at increased risk for viral transmission. Avoidance of locker rooms is just another strategy to reduce risk. If locker rooms are being used, it is important to maintain social distancing even when wearing masks.

Question (Jack F.): We have an evaluation session in a few days where there will be at least 50-60 kids on the ice.  With all the mandates or social distancing / hand washing / mask wearing, how do you propose keeping the kids safe with that large of a gathering?  In our county, there is not a public mask mandate. I know that my family has been staying safe and have been overly diligent in taking all precautions to ensure optimal safety. I have no idea what other parents are doing socially.

Answer: Adhere to the local, state and federal guidelines on the maximum number of people allowed to gather in an indoor facility. USA Hockey, in conjunction with the U.S. Ice Rinks Association and U.S. Figure Skating issued a Returning To The Rinks guide for arenas and programs to consider during this time of COVID-19. USA Hockey also released a document on mitigating risk. Coronavirus (COVID-19) information, updates and examples of on-ice activities can be found here.

You can divide the evaluation session into smaller groups, stagger arrival and departure times, screen everyone who enters the building and establish separate routes for arena entry and exit. 




Question (Eric I.): What has the COVID-19 infection rate been among youth hockey players?  Has there been any hospitalizations? Any known deaths?

Answer: We have heard of hockey players who have tested positive, but don’t know if prevention strategies were employed or if viral transmission occurred at the ice rink. We do not have valid data to calculate the infection rate and the prevalence varies according to geographic location. We have not received any reports of hospitalizations or deaths. Your local health department may have information on specific facilities where infections have been identified.

Question (Richard B. from California): We were notified they are now going to be requiring players to wear “face coverings” during hockey play.  When I posed this question to a staff member, the staff member told me two things. The decision was suggested and implemented by USA Hockey. Why? Even players wearing full face shields (not a cage) would be required to also wear a face mask inside the full face shield.

Answer: USA Hockey has not implemented mandatory face coverings when on the ice. You need to follow your local and state guidelines, since some communities require a face covering/mask for indoor athletic facilities. Face coverings/masks may be uncomfortable to wear during sports and may hinder breathing especially during strenuous activity or when they become wet. If you choose to wear, or local and state guidelines require you to wear a face covering/mask while playing ice hockey, wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off, avoid touching the face covering/mask or your face beneath the face covering/mask and wash your face coverings/masks after each use.

Question (Jay H.): Would you recommend high risk individuals (over 65 or underlying conditions like asthma etc.) play hockey under the existing USA Hockey and CDC guidelines?

Answer: The risk of contracting COVID-19 while playing ice hockey is minimal, but individuals with medical co-morbidities are known to be at increased risk. Participation is a personal choice. You should consult your physician and strictly follow the USA Hockey suggestions (screening for all who enter the arena, personal hygiene, social distancing, facial covering/mask, disinfection of surfaces and equipment).

Question (Bobby S. from Illinois): My Son is a U15 Player that takes good care of his equipment: he dries it out and we wash most of it weekly or biweekly depending on the amount of ice time. Any suggestions during these times to limit spread through equipment?  Typically we use a disinfectant cycle on our washer, air dry outside. Can COVID live at all in the equipment environment over time?

Answer: We do not have data on how long the virus can live on equipment, but frequent cleaning and disinfection is advised. Here are some tips:

  • Most equipment can be washed in a household washing machines with regular detergent.  Use the gentle/delicate cycle for shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin pad liners and gloves.  Allow equipment to dry completely, which may take up to 24 hours.  You can use a spray disinfectant daily and thoroughly wash at least every other week.
  • Helmets, skates, sticks and shin pad coverings can be cleaned with disinfecting wipes after each use.
  • Jerseys, socks and undergarments should be washed after each use.
  • Take equipment out of your hockey bag and air dry after each use. 
  • Disinfecting wipes and sprays can be purchased in your local grocery stores or markets. These products meet the EPA List N for use against SARS- CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Question (Derek E.): I read an article about how COVID spreads easily in the cold dry conditions that an ice rink provides. What are your thoughts on this?

Answer: The COVID virus can survive for a period of time in any cold and dry environment, but there is no evidence for increased risk of disease transmission in an ice rink. Rinks have significant HVAC systems that circulate fresh air on a regular basis, and due to the fast pace of skating, air flow for the athlete is circulated at a higher rate.

Question (Derek E. from Florida): As an adult player (51 years old) what are your top concerns about me returning to play hockey in a no contact league this fall.  If I wear a mask at the rink and while playing, would I be reasonably protected?

Answer: There is risk with all potential exposures at home, work, sports, school and social activities. Participation is a personal choice. You should strictly follow the USA Hockey suggestions (screening for all who enter the arena, personal hygiene, social distancing, facial covering/mask, disinfection of surfaces and equipment).

General Hockey Questions

Question (Paul W. from Illinois): What can I do to stay in touch with USA Hockey?

Answer: One of the best ways to stay in touch is by volunteering for your local association or program in some fashion. As you may know, there are many different roles for volunteers and they play a key role in the overall success of any association. We also invite you to keep up with happenings at USA Hockey online at USAHockey.com and through our social media channels.

Question (Mike from California): Our league games have restarted and have been going for a few weeks, and our current season is projected to end in November. Our director has told all players that we don’t need USA Hockey renewals for the remainder of the year, and to instead register with AAU Hockey. I figured I should go straight to the source. Are California games not being sanctioned by USA Hockey anymore? Is there any impact to me as a player?

Answer: USA Hockey will be sanctioning hockey this season across the country, including California. In order to ensure that you are able to be registered with a USA Hockey team this season, that you are covered by USA Hockey’s industry-leading insurance, and protected by its networks of bylaws, rules and policies, you should register with USA Hockey. Regarding specific states playing hockey again, rinks will continue to abide by local government procedures in order to ensure a safe environment. USA Hockey will sanction games at any facility that follows local health guidelines and allows games to be played. If local health guidelines do not permit competition, USA Hockey does not advocate playing illegal games as safety remains our number one priority for players.

Question (John B from New York): What lobbying and education is USA Hockey doing to explain to local and state governments that hockey itself is a safe activity?

Answer: USA Hockey and affiliate leadership are focused on working with government leaders in order to continue opening rinks nationwide. We have developed materials that can be used by every level of hockey leadership to communicate with local governments for a safe return to hockey. We are actively involved through multiple channels in ensuring appropriate decision-makers understand that our sport, while taking appropriate precautions, is indeed safe to play. We’re fortunate to be guided by leading medical professionals and their resources including Dr. Mike Stuart from the Mayo Clinic, our chief medical and safety officer, along with the input of many other professionals throughout the industry. While significant progress has been made, challenges remain and we’re continuing to work to ensure our programs in all areas of the country can get on the ice.

Question (Kelsey L.): I already paid for my new season fee at the beginning of COVID. Then I got an email about one month later stating that everyone will be automatically extended to get the 2020-21 season playing fee for free. If this is true, can I get my money back?

No membership was automatically extended as a free 2020-21 season membership this year. Every member of USA Hockey will need to renew their membership this year in order to continue receiving all of USA Hockey’s benefits.

Youth Hockey Questions

Question (Francisco G.): Will the 2020-2021 season require all players to wear helmet full face shields vs cages?

Answer: USA Hockey is not requiring players wear a specific helmet or facemask. For more information about the potential benefits of a full clear shield, please read our facemask guideline.

Question (Tim P.): Why is the renewal fee not discounted for our upcoming renewal at the end of this month? 

Answer: USA Hockey provides all members with year-long benefits. Included in your registration at no additional charge are the world-leading off-ice and on-ice training materials and educational opportunities. We continue to provide at-home and virtual programs, adapting to the needs of our members, including practice plans and training developed by leaders in youth development focusing on physical, social and mental well-being. For parents with children playing hockey, knowing that coaches and officials are trained, certified and background-screened by USA Hockey before working with your kids helps provide peace of mind. USA Hockey coaching and officiating education and certification programs have long been lauded as the gold standard by peer groups. Members have free access to the USA Hockey mobile coach app that features age specific on-ice and off-ice drills. All members of USA Hockey receive important insurance coverage that not only protects the individual, but also allows our programs and rinks to operate. Additionally, members receive a subscription to USA Hockey Magazine, the most widely circulated hockey publication in the world.

Question (Ben T. from Colorado): I am looking for information on how to set up competitive, safe and enjoyable youth scrimmages and practices to help our local hockey program advance beyond socially distanced drills.

Answer: If your program has advanced beyond socially distanced drills, you will want to begin resuming normal practice and games. For more information about free age specific on-ice drills, please visit USA Hockey’s practice plans or download the USA Hockey mobile coach app. Coaches looking to attain certification for this season can attend any of our virtual clinics. All clinics are available nationally, meaning you can register for ANY clinic listed, even if you don’t live in that specific district. This allows for greater flexibility based on your schedule. Coaches are encouraged to visit our free Coaching Webinars featuring Martin St. Louis, Jeff Blashill and more for additional hockey conversations.

Question (Mike from Nevada): I wanted to know if under USA Hockey are we allowed to return to playing games and tournaments? We recently went through tryouts and team placement, we had a tournament the following weekend, and then were told that according to USA Hockey and our governor we can’t play games? 

Answer: USA Hockey is sanctioning hockey for the 2020-21 season. That said, all USA Hockey programs should follow local health and safety guidelines. It is possible that your local government has increased restrictions not allowing your rinks to host hockey games. Continue to communicate with your local organization or rink for more information about when games can be played.https://www.youtube.com/embed/bfA51bb3zJ4

Question (Jimmy J.): I’m curious why checking is being considered to be taken out this year? 

Answer: In some areas of the country, by agreeing to temporarily eliminate checking in games, state government leaders have allowed players to get back on the ice and play games. As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, we expect that these types of restrictions will be removed as conditions improve.

Question (Rich G. from Michigan): When will the fall season start for 10-year old girls?

Answer: As conditions differ across the country, unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Our best advice is to communicate with your local association or rink for the latest information. We know in a good part of the state of Michigan that, as of August 27, rinks are not open and we’re diligently working to ensure kids have the chance to play hockey throughout the state this Fall.

Question (James L.): I heard a rumor that they are only going to allow nine kids and one goalie on a bench at any given time? Is that true? If so, how are the other kids going to get playing time?

Answer: In some areas of the country, ice rinks are limiting the number of people inside of rinks. Depending on bench size, rink capacity and local government guidelines, local hockey leaders are putting together several different ways to organize the ice in order to maximize playing time for kids in practice, scrimmages and games. As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, we expect that these types of restrictions will be removed as conditions improve.

Question (Shawn N. from New York): If youth hockey resumes in New York state, what is USA Hockey’s stance on allowing parents to be at the rink watching their kids?

Answer: USA Hockey is supportive of parents watching their children play hockey. To ensure that facilities stay open and our kids have a place to play this Fall, it is important that ice rinks comply with local and state guidelines.

Question (Adam Z.): Thank you for taking these questions and for working with USA Hockey to get the kids back on the ice. Can you let us know the average time players come in contact with each other during a check?

Answer: USA Hockey, through body contact studies of over 15,000 player sessions at all age levels prior to the pandemic, found that players come into contact  in immediate proximity with one another through body checks less than three seconds or less total throughout normal course of play. The amount of time depends on the level of play, but full information on the study can be found here.


Question (Will T.): My 12U son has started house league and we are so happy to be back on the ice! Our rink also offers an All-Star program where the more advanced players are selected for a team that does some level of travel but not as much as a true travel team.  There would be 3-4 tournaments that would involve out of state travel and hotels.  We’ve done the All-Star program the past few years and it’s a great addition to the house league program but I have concerns with travel, hotels and know knowing exactly what the COVID situation is in other locations versus here in my town. I’d like to get your perspective on risks of travel hockey vs. house league.

Answer: Whether you play local or travel, hockey provides the same great benefits to kids, including physical, mental and social well-being. Traveling and tournaments with a large number of participants from multiple locations is a personal choice, and could increase exposure.

Adult Hockey Questions

Question (Ben T. from Colorado): We have a loyal and deep-rooted adult recreational hockey league that needs insight on how to resume their activities. Can you speak to how other communities have successfully re-started their USA Hockey sanctioned adult recreational leagues?

Answer: Our best advice is to work with your local rink(s) on a safe return to the ice. As state and local guidelines vary across the country, there is no one-size-fits-all nationally, outside of practicing proper hygiene and social distancing when possible. The good news is that your league and rink can partner together in ensuring appropriate state and local guidelines are followed so games can be played. Our medical experts have shared that with taking appropriate common-sense precautions – it is safe to play hockey, noting, of course, it is not completely without risk. Hockey players are covered head to toe in protective equipment without skin-to-skin contact, and studies show players are within a six-foot radius of another player for less than three minutes per game. All of our resources on safe return to play can be found here.


Question (Kristen H. from Arizona): Are you going to be holding the February Pond Hockey in Eagle River?

Answer: Yes, we are currently working on the registration launch for the 2021 Labatt Blue/USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships. Keep following USA Hockey social media accounts and USAHockey.com for more information.

Coaching Questions

Question (Tom E.): I’m from Michigan. How will the seminars and testing be conducted this year?

Answer: As we continue to adapt to the needs of our membership, all testing and certification is currently available in a convenient interactive format, here. All clinics are available nationally, meaning you can register for ANY clinic listed, even if you don’t live in that specific district. This allows for greater flexibility based on your schedule. Temporary coaching cards are available until Dec. 31, 2020. For more information about the virtual clinics, as well as the temporary coaching certificate, click here.

Question (Susan Y.): Will coaches be given penalties or run the clock for not wearing a mask correctly on the bench?

Answer: USA Hockey is not instituting a rule at this time. It will depend on what the local government, rink or association has put in place as a policy.


Officiating Questions

Question (Greg M. from Colorado): What responsibilities do on-ice officials have in enforcing Return to Play guidelines while on the ice? If an official observes a clearly sick player on the ice is the official responsible for removing the player from the game similar to a possible concussion or do officials have to enforce social distancing on the benches? 

Answer: The official’s role is to enforce the playing rules of the game and contribute to the creation of a safe and competitive environment.  Return to play guidelines and the management of teams and players is the responsibility of the coaches, youth hockey organizations and the leagues. For information related to COVID-19 and officiating, please visit our officiating FAQ page.

Question (Michael T. from New York): If we do not register to referee this season will our tenure clock have to be reset or is there an exception?

Answer: USA Hockey is aware of the concerns involved with COVID-19 and the challenges that have been created.  As a result, special consideration may be provided regarding the tenured program on a case-by-case basis at a later time when more information is available considering the season. USA Hockey is confident that hockey will be played this season and encourages all of our members to continue their participation.


Sled Hockey Question

Question (Jen K. from Pennsylvania): Are there any specific recommendations for sled hockey teams, or any precedents already set? I am struggling to balance the safety precautions with carrying on with the season.  Specifically, I am thinking about how we would socially distance with loading kids into the sleds off the ice, carrying the sleds on ice, pushing them in the sleds on ice, and unloading from sleds off ice.  While we could say only family members can complete these tasks, I think that would greatly limit the number of children that would be able to participate.  Our volunteers are highly instrumental in helping families with this – largely due to the size and significant needs of many of our athletes.

Answer: USA Hockey recognizes that the challenges with sled hockey are magnified. Many of our athletes that have to be helped into and out of their sleds can be at increased risk of COVID infection and serious consequences. Participation in any activity should be done in consult with your physician to make the best informed decision. While playing sled hockey this season is a personal choice, there are many ways to help mitigate risk and provide the safest possible environment for those that wish to play. Coaches, volunteer staff, players and parents should all be practicing good personal hygiene, wearing masks, social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting all equipment after each session.  Consider health check screenings prior to each session.

Players should consider coming to the rink dressed to minimize preparation time at the rink. Getting on the ice will need to be organized and sequential to minimize waiting in a group. Designated waiting areas should be labeled along the boards to maintain social distancing.  More space may be needed for each individual to account for the sled and other equipment. Consult with your rink facility manager/operator for specific protocols for pre and post ice procedures.

If possible, only family should be involved in assisting players into sleds and on the ice. This helps to minimize exposure to volunteers. If this is not possible, it would be advisable to group volunteers with specific families and not have a single volunteer help with getting everyone on and off the ice. Creating multiple small groups or pods can help minimize potential spread. On ice players should maintain social distancing standards while waiting for drills. 

“Small Saves”


Here is this week’s edition of “Small Saves.” Enjoy!