January 14, 2021
To the Members of our Michigan Hockey Community:
On the afternoon of Wednesday, January 13th, 2021 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 Saturday, January 16th through Sunday, January 31st .
As a supplement to the January 13th, 2021 Epidemic Order, the MDHHS has also provided a FAQ document to answer very specific questions pertaining to this extension.
Hockey is one of several sports, categorized by the MDHHS, as a “contact sport.” With this in mind, there are some notable revisions that directly impact our hockey activity. Given the parameters summarized in this order, and because hockey is categorized by the MDHHS as one of several “contact sports,” the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) givesthe following guidance to our local program members:
1) Starting Saturday, January 16th, on-ice practices / conditioning sessions are permitted provided that contact does not occur between players. Occupancy must be limited to 4 persons per 1,000 square feet of exercise space (approximately 68 people on the ice at once). Spectators are allowed as long as they do not exceed 25% of the total occupancy limits, established by the State or local fire marshal. Social distancing (6 feet or more) must be maintained at all times. Facial coverings are required at all times in the rink, both onice and off-ice. Practices with contact, scrimmages, and competition are NOT permitted. (NOTE: Local governments may impose more stringent restrictions, based on local conditions)
2) Games and scrimmages remain prohibited for the duration of the January 13th, 2021 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 January 13th, 2021 Epidemic Order, our Interstate Travel Notification Form will be suspended for use. Furthermore, 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 competition of any kind during this period. Association Boards, Coaches & Managers are also potentially increasing their liability, if they continue to organize competition during this time.
4) As indicated in Section 7(f) of the January 13th, 2021 Epidemic Order, participants in gatherings for any exercise activities, group fitness, or organized sports must comply with face mask requirements listed in the Interim Guidance for Athletics. Please note that the CDC does not recommend use of face shields as a substitute for cloth face masks. However, a face shield that covers the eyes, nose and mouth can be worn in addition to a cloth face mask, if desired.
The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association remains optimistic that these efforts will lead to additional restrictions being lifted, and our return to hockey activity will be forthcoming. As always, we appreciate your patience and support!
George Atkinson, President
Jason Reynolds Director of Operations & Marketing
Michigan Amateur Hockey Association
As you are aware, the MDHHS has continued the pause for competitive games for youth sports until February 1, at the earliest. The district will not be able to sponsor the normal district 4 playoff format due to the limited number of days teams will be able to play games prior to the second round, which was scheduled for February 26-28. Mid winter break for many schools is scheduled for the weekend of February 12 -15 as well as teams may be scheduled to play in a President's weekend Tournament. The district council has discussed and voted to remove the second round of district games (except for JV). Associations who were scheduled to host second round games will no longer host games, this should give teams some ice back to host games.
The district will divide each age classification into two brackets. Each team will play one game against each team in their bracket. The top team in each bracket will play at the District 4 Hockey Day to determine the District 4 champion.
Hockey day will be hosted by USA Hockey Club of Michigan at the Detroit Skate Club Saturday March 6 and Sunday March 7.
All games must be completed by Wednesday, March 3. This should give teams 31 days to schedule 3-6 games, depending on the age classification.
I will send an email out to all teams that registered for districts later tonight with the updated format. Teams will then receive a second email later this week with the brackets, teams they are scheduled to play and who is home and who is away.. The dates for the MAHA State Tournament and Play in Games have not changed.
The district thanks you for your patience and understanding while we maneuver during this difficult and challenging season. The Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois has cancelled their state tournament for the 20-21 season.e.
A second reminder, teams are not to be playing a "scrimmage" against another team. If two teams take the ice, this is considered a game and if caught, the head coaches will have a hearing in front of the district 4 hearing committee.
If you have any questions, please email me.
MAHA D4 Chair