WCMHA ‘pauses’ team activities

WEST CARLETON – The West Carleton Minor Hockey Association (WCMHA) has put a pause to all association-related activities following a positive case within its ranks, three within the district and stricter regulations coming down on Ottawa indoor rinks.

“Effective immediately the WCMHA is pausing all team activities until Nov. 6,” the WCMHA board released in a statement yesterday evening (Oct. 15). 

The move is part of the trickle-down effect from an announcement by the Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO) board of directors.

HEO President Gary Hopkins also issued a statement confirming City of Ottawa-based hockey programs would be moved back to HEO’s Stage 2, Return to Ice (practices and skills development only, no games or scrimmages). On Wednesday (Oct. 16), the City of Ottawa confirmed its ice rental requirements, with regulations including a maximum of ten on-ice participants to comply with the new provincial regulations.

These restrictions will be in place until the end of October.

“Our understanding is private facilities operating within the City of Ottawa are also applying these new requirements to their ice rentals,” Hopkins said. “Hockey programs based in the City of Ottawa, whose cohorts and teams draw exclusively from the City of Ottawa must comply with the new provincial regulations, City of Ottawa and private facility requirements to limit their on-ice participants to 10 or fewer and to rent ice for their Stage 2 programming within the City of Ottawa. HEO supports direction from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Leeds Grenville Lanark Health Unit and Renfrew County and District Health Unit that strongly discourages these City-of-Ottawa based programs from seeking to rent ice in facilities outside the City of Ottawa.”

WCMHA President Del Brown also released a letter yesterday documenting the reasoning behind the pause.

“After consultation and consideration of our options, the WCMHA will be pausing all Warrior and Crusader team activities until Nov. 6, 2020, 23:59 p.m.,” Brown released in a statement yesterday (Oct. 15). “We will do our best to continue to provide updates. During this time, teams are prohibited from purchasing ice/or dryland team events under the West Carleton/Crusader umbrella. WCMHA is also prohibiting team staff from purchasing ice outside of the City of Ottawa boundaries. This is line with HEO, Ottawa Public and the City Ottawa recommendations to restrict travel outside the city.”

It has been a challenging year for Brown, who is the first WCMHA president to have to try to organize a season during a pandemic. Brown, the board and the WCMHA’s many volunteers held several evening Zoom meetings over the summer just to try to come up with a plan to have some sort of a season that met participants’ needs, was not too financially onerous on parents and followed strict COVID-19 guidelines.

As you can understand this has an enormous impact on our program both financially and logistically, notwithstanding that cases are rising in Ottawa, Brown said. “We can share, there has been a positive test in our association and three other cases within our district within the last 24 hours. We have worked with HEO, District 4 and the team to ensure all protocols were followed and the necessary people have been informed.”

Brown points out the threat of COVID-19 is very real.

“This is a reminder that COVID-19 is in our community it can spread at any given time,” Brown said. “We can all agree these are challenging times, however the health and safety of the families in our community is our first priority. This will always be the foundation that guides us when making our final decision. Rest assured when the provincial and municipal restrictions have been lifted, we will plan to resume our hockey program. We ask for everyone’s patience, kindness and understanding during these very challenging times for both the WCMHA executive and volunteers along with our Warriors and Crusaders families. Take care and stay safe.”

The WCMHA informed player parents through email yesterday following two evenings of board meetings.