Hello to the Ice Kat families, I am writing to give you an update and to outline a few key things that need to be addressed as we all GROW through these unprecedented times. Hockey is back, but it is not the hockey that we have known and loved for so long. It is DIFFERENT and there are new protocols an rules to be followed in order for our organization to keep working and to have the opportunity to have the girls on the ice.
I ask you for PATIENCE, UNDERSTANDING and an OPEN MIND as this hockey season unfolds. Be POSITIVE in your interactions with the coaches, the arena staff, and all of the volunteers who are working to make this a great season for the kids. These are unchartered waters and the board and all of the coaches and volunteers in our organization are doing A LOT of work to make things happen so the kids can be on the ice doing WHAT THEY LOVE – playing hockey. That is what we are all here to do – to give our kids an ability to THRIVE – physically, mentally, and emotionally with an outlet in their day for activity, sport and connection with their peers.
The Competitive program has been structured with a Tiered approach and the girls have been placed on teams to train with throughout the year. The coaches have been empowered to make these choices and to place the girls in these tiers without tryouts. We don’t know if we will get to a point of tryouts this year, or if a league will be formed at all, but we do know that we have a great program with coaches who are there for the kids to learn, and develop and to make it FUN and CHALLENGING for their skill development throughout the season. Game play will begin in the weeks following the Thanksgiving weekend, and teams will be made within the Tier on a balanced perspective so the girls will be playing against one another in the tier they have been placed in. More details will be forthcoming about how the games will be structured, but they will be 4 on 4 and will be physically distanced – once again, it will not be hockey as we have known it in the past. The OWHA is coming out with the guidelines for this game play soon and we will be following those guidelines when they are released.
The Recreational program will begin following the Thanksgiving weekend as per usual. The girls will have one practice a week and one game per week. The program will look much the same as it has in the past with all of the levels of play, we have provided in the past and a FUN, POSITIVE and SKILL based environment for the girls to play in. These games will also follow the OWHA guidelines with respect to 4 on 4 and physical distancing rules.
As a board, we made the decision to stay and play locally in order to do our best in growing the skill and level of play of all of our participants by playing IN HOUSE, and to not be connected with other organizations to prevent the closure of our program if things did not fare well in those other areas in other Public Health Units. The health and safety of our kids remains at the forefront of our decisions.
I know it is a new routine to have to get dressed in the parking lot, or to come mostly dressed to the rink, and to be there in ENOUGH TIME to make your 10 minute gathering time to be admitted into the rink, but this is something that must happen and you MUST be on time or you will be denied entry by the arena staff. Please be at the arena at least 20 minutes prior to the start of your ice time and be dressed and ready to be in line for your 10 minute check in. Please also remember that the screening forms must be completed EACH day and can be done 2 hours prior to the ice time for the player and the parent who is watching the practice. These MUST be shown to the team manager in order to participate on ice.
We have some very exciting news that will be released SOON with respective to what it means to be an ICE KAT and our Branding moving forward during our 40th year as an organization. Stay tuned for NEW GEAR and the release of our NEW LOGO which will be announced shortly. We are very happy with the partnership we have formed with Fontaine’s and the new gear will be available at the store once everything is finalized and ordered. We believe the kids will love the new identity and will enjoy the new look and feel of the Ice Kats Brand.
Thank you for your PATIENCE and UNDERSTANDING as parents who are showing up and providing your kids with the opportunity to be on the ice. If you get the chance, say THANK YOU to the coaches, the board members, the trainers, the city staff and everyone who is working together to make this all possible. There have been countless hours put in to make everything come together and it often feels like protocols are changing every day. We are adapting to our new environment and we hope that you will be open to GROWING together through this season with us.
Let’s work together to make this season GREAT!
Thanks so much,