December 18, 2020
To the Members of our Michigan Hockey Community:
On the afternoon of Friday, December 18, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a new extension of the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) Epidemic Order, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The extended pause will take place from Monday, December 21st through Friday, January 15th .
There are some notable revisions that directly impact our hockey activity. Although the updated order continues to allow for limited activities in open ice rinks in Michigan, Section 4(e) of the December 18th, 2020 Epidemic Order includes a notable clarification regarding on-ice capacity restrictions:
“Gatherings and indoor ice and roller rinks are prohibited, except for individual exercise or one-on-one instruction, where occupancy is limited to 2 persons per 1,000 square feet (approximately 34 people on the ice at once), including within the exercise space. Gatherings at outdoor ice and roller rinks are permitted, except for organized contact sports, provided that occupancy is limited to 2 persons per 1,000 square feet, including within the exercise space. Gatherings for the purpose of non-contact sports and open skating are permitted only at outdoor rinks.”
Given the parameters summarized in this order, the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) givesthe following guidance to our local program members:
1) Ice may be purchased to conduct limited on-ice activitiesfor the duration of the extended MDHHS Epidemic Order (Monday, December 21st – Friday, January 15th). The on-ice focus should be limited to individual, one on-one instruction to provide exercise, individual skills and non-contact activities for local program participants, within the Epidemic Order’s occupancy limitations(no spectators). Facial coverings are required at all times in the rink, both on-ice and off-ice. (NOTE: Local governments may impose more stringent restrictions, based on local conditions)
2) Organized sports gatherings (i.e. practices and games) remain prohibited for the duration of the December 18th, 2020 Epidemic Order. As a result, games, scrimmages and tournaments will not be sanctioned in Michigan during this time period. (This includes two MAHA teams traveling out-of-state in order to fulfill a game or scrimmage.) Please note that any local associations or teams, that are discovered to be engaging in unsanctioned activity during the pause, will be in violation of its organization’s Affiliate Agreement and subject to disciplinary action.
3) The MAHA does not encourage, or recommend, out-of-state travel during this period. As a “sports organizer,” as defined under the Epidemic Order, the MAHA is not able to participate in any such gatherings in any matter. During the extended pause in activity, as required under the December 18th, 2020 Epidemic Order, our Interstate Travel Notification Form will be suspended for use.
a. The MAHA continues to caution local associations and teams that they may be defined as a “sports organizer,” and subject to penalties under this Epidemic Order, should they organize gatherings of any kind during this period. Association Boards, Coaches & Managers are also potentially increasing their liability, if they continue to organize participation during this time.
b. The MAHA does realize that certain teams may have committed to travel out-of-state, prior to these Epidemic Orders, and that certain commitments may be non-refundable. The MAHA encourages all teams with out-of-state travel plans to explore cancellation and potential refunding options, in an effort to support the ongoing suppression of COVID-19.
If these options are unavailable, the MAHA implores you to proceed with caution and heightened awareness in carrying out your travel commitments. Specifically:
i. Teams are expected to maintain heightened awareness of the evolving circumstances, pertaining to local and state government guidelines and restrictions, in any market they intend to travel to. Based on evolving risk mitigation strategies across the country, out-of-state activities are subject to change.
ii. Teams are required to adhere to all local and state government guidelines, imposed upon their travel destination. It is the responsibility of the team to identify those guidelines and proceeding accordingly. Furthermore, please continue to be mindful of group gatherings outside of the rink, and practice risk mitigation strategies out-ofstate, as well as in-state.
iii. As previously noted, the State of Michigan’s ongoing navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic may cause varying degrees of discomfort for families in your organization. We expect that all teams and associations respect the wishes of any families who choose not to follow through with scheduled team activities, and/or travel accommodations. Given the evolving circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, participants and families should not be subject to undue influence.
It should be noted that the December 18th update, from the State of Michigan, suggests that continued suppression of COVID-19 may result in additional restrictions being lifted (prior to the current January 15th expiration date for this Epidemic Order). With this in mind, The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association remains optimistic that the efforts made during the activity pause will lead to a return to hockey activity.
As always, we appreciate your patience and support!
The MAHA State Playoff Committee is meeting Tuesday to review the state championship dates. Once the state championship dates are scheduled, D4 will determine the dates for the second round and hockey day. Please review your ice schedules for the weekends of 2/19 and 2/26 to see if your association will still be able to host second round games, these are potential dates. D4 is aware that a majority of the public schools have a 1/2 day on Friday 2/12 and off Monday 2/15. There are two districts that have the week of 2/15 off. D4 is also aware that spring break for public schools is the week of March 29-April 4. MAHA and the D4 will try to work around these dates.
As of today, USA Hockey has not moved dates or locations for the National Championships. The discussions are the National dates will be moved to the last week of April or first week of May.
Credentials for Tier 2 and house teams. The D4 council members will reach out to each association they have been assigned to and communicate if the original date for credentials will be moved to a later date.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2020
Contact: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112
LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated its epidemic order today to allow indoor activities where Michiganders can remain masked, as this has been scientifically shown to slow the virus. This includes in-person learning at high schools and indoor entertainment venues. Casinos, bowling centers and movie theatres will be allowed to reopen with total capacity capped at 100; food and drink concessions closed; and social distancing requirements in place. The new order is effective Monday, Dec. 21 and will last until Friday, Jan. 15.
“These past few weeks, Michiganders across the state stepped up and did their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, and because of our collective hard work, we are now able to begin the steps to carefully lift some of the protocols we have in place,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “I am encouraged by the progress we have made since early November, and will continue to monitor the data closely during and after the holidays. One of the most important things Michiganders can do right now is make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine as soon as it’s available to you. And as always: mask up, practice safe social distancing, and avoid indoor gatherings where COVID-19 can easily spread from person to person. We will eradicate this virus together.”
“We have made some progress in our fight against this pandemic, and this was a historical week as we started to distribute life-saving vaccines,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “It is important that everyone continues to do their part. Start planning for when you will get a vaccine when it is available to you, and let’s avoid a surge in cases after the holidays by avoiding gatherings, wearing our masks, and continuing to socially distance.”
Previously, MDHHS had identified stabilization or declines in three metrics as critical for relaxing protocols. Michigan saw improvements across all three following the “pause” implemented in mid-November:
“Michiganders should be proud: we have made incredible progress over the last month. But we could easily lose that progress and endanger our hospitals again over the next two weeks,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “At Thanksgiving, most Michiganders sacrificed and avoided family get-togethers. We need to do the same thing this holiday season. Then we can re-engage more activities sooner and more safely.”
Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to 10 people and two households. MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings or to pick a single other household to interact with consistent with guidance already released by the department. Families are encouraged to stay home this holiday season to maintain the positive momentum that has developed and to protect loved ones. Families are also encouraged to Mask Up, Mask Right, using new guidance for what masks to wear and how to wear them.