Return to Hockey FAQ: September 16th Update, News (Whitby Minor Hockey)

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Return to Hockey FAQ: September 16th Update
Submitted By Jane Sedo on Wednesday, September 16, 2020
The following is a list of the most common questions we have received over the past month. Please check back frequently as this information will be updated often as WMHA continues to meet with various stakeholders. 

WMHA Return to Hockey FAQ


In June, Hockey Canada provided general guidance related to COIVD-19 to all the provincial bodies. The Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) has in turn provided a framework to the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) and local associations while taking into consideration the current regional health guidelines.


We are continuing to work will all authorities to provide you with as much information as possible.

Update: September 16th, 2020

How will players social distance in the dressing room? 

At this time dressing room access will remain limited. We will continue to work with the Town of Whitby and the Durham Public Health Unit to determine the safest way for players to dress and undress. It should be assumed that players will have to come to the rink dressed in most of their equipment and put on their remaining items (skates, helmet etc) once they arrive. This will be done while maintaining a social distance of 2 metres from other players. 

Are siblings allowed to watch games or practices? 

The Town of Whitby has advised us that each rink will have a maximum capacity of 50.  At this time, only one spectator per player will be permitted in the arena. 
Does WMHA plan to live stream games? 

Unfortunately at this time, WMHA does not have the resources needed to purchase or maintain this type of technology. 

Why has the Registration Fee changed?  

WMHA has worked very hard to ensure we offer a program that reflects the true costs. What it really comes down to is ice and math. In a typical season the majority of players in our association would be on the ice with 24-36 players, this season we are limited to 20. The cost of the ice remains the same, but there are fewer players on the ice and this inevitably has increased our per player costs. 

In the 2019-2020 season the registration rate was $675 with an early registration rate of $575. This season we have restructured our rate as we could not provide an early bird rate, the new blended rate is $650.  

Our increase is due to a higher per player ice cost. Even with this increased rate, Registration Fees will not cover the full cost of the program and a loss this fiscal year is expected. 

Our mandate is to build a program that gets kids back on the ice to promote their physical and emotional wellbeing during this time, while being fiscally responsible and working within our governing body and health unit guidelines.


All WMHA proposed program details reflect extensive discussion and consideration of the current situation with an understanding that we may need to extend this model of programming beyond the 2020-2021 season. 

WMHA is a not for profit organization and been very diligent to put forth a Registration Fee that is within our available reserve. As always, members are encouraged to attend our AGM. Each year a full review of our financial statements is provided and there is an opportunity to ask questions.

This year our AGM is on November 24th

How does the Rep program differ from the House League program? 

The Rep Program includes 20 weeks of programming, with three ice slots per week. These ice slots vary in length between 60min to 90min by division. 

U11 and below receive 1 hour of development each week, 1-hour coach-led practice and 1-hour game. 

U12 - U14 will receive development every other week, one or two 60-90 minute coach-led practice a week and one game a week. 

U15 and above will play two games each week and receive a 90-minute coach-led practice. 

The House League program is offered over 18 weeks and has two 60 minute ice slots. For a U16 player, the Rep program provides about 30 hours more ice than the House League program. 

*all ice times are subject to change as WMHA is working to finalize a contract with the Town of Whitby for ice this upcoming season

What hockey skills will players learn playing 4 on 4 this season? 

We reached out to our development provider, Anthony Cornacchia of Edge Hockey to answer this question. 

In a 4 on 4 game format players will spend considerably more time on the ice and consequently their skating will be increased. This game format lends to a more explosive offensive game and defensive awareness, while giving players the chance to hone in on their skills. It also provides them with the opportunity to learn and play multiple positions; including hybrid offence and defence. Goalies will be receiving more shots and as such be more involved in the game.”

Why do U15 and above players not receive development? 
Traditionally, WMHA has not provided development to players U15 and above. Players at this age will receive two game slots per week. The OMHA does require two referees and a timekeeper for these games and these additional costs are included in your Rep fee. 
Why is there a limited number of spaces available in House League this season? 
Reduced roster size and limited ice available have forced us to reduce our House League capacity by 25% in most divisions. We know this is disappointing to our members and we continue to work within our ice allocation to provide programming to players. 
Will I get my money back if the Town of Whitby closes its facilities due to COVID-19?
If hockey is cancelled by a governing body and/or the the Town of Whitby at any point due to COVID-19  WMHA will provide a pro-rated refund of payments made. 

WMHA Refund Policy  

Where will Rostered Select players play this season? 

Rostered select players are part of our recreation or community based programming and participate in our traditional house league program as well as with their Rostered Select teams.

At this time, there isn't Rostered Select programming available across the OMHA. Players that were part of our RS program were also part of a house league team and as such will be tiered accordingly with players from house league.

How much goalie development is in the Rep program this season? 

Please contact your Rep Director for any specifics detail related to goalies this season. 

Update: August 21st, 2020 


Will there be tryouts for WMHA Representative players?


During Stage 3 of the OHF Return to Hockey framework, tryouts are not permitted. As a member of the OHF, WMHA follows their direction.


Are other associations having tryouts?


The OHF oversees and governs most minor hockey associations in Ontario, therefore any sanctioned hockey association in Ontario is not permitted to run tryouts.


How will teams be formed if there is no evaluation or tryout?


Players will be placed on a team with players of similar skill and ability. This will be determined by what level they played in the 2019-2020 season.


Can WMHA players participate in non Hockey Canada sanctioned leagues this season?


As per the OHF, any player who participates in an unsanctioned league after September 30th is not eligible to participate in sanctioned hockey (Hockey Canada) for the balance of the season. We have been advised that the OMHA will be enforcing this rule throughout this season.


To find out more about unsanctioned leagues please visit the OHF website.

Can I play in another association this season?

Players can register with their home centre or in the centre they were registered with in the 2019-20 season. Those are the only two options for the 2020-21 season.  

What will the game format be?


The game format will be modified 4 on 4. Specific game play rules will be made available prior to the start of the season.


How many players will be on a team this year?


The OMHA has mandated that teams have a maximum of 10 players.


Will teams play against the same team every week?


The OMHA requires teams to play within a bubble/cohort of 50 players or less, not including bench staff. With 10 players per team, up to 5 teams can be in a bubble. This may vary based on enrolment.


Will there be a Development Stream (DS) or Roster Select program this season?


In accordance with the OMHA, we are unable to offer a Development Stream or Roster Select program this season.


Can parents watch games and practices?


The Town of Whitby has advised us that each rink will have a maximum capacity of 50.  At this time, it is our understanding that one parent/guardian per player will be permitted in the arena.


Will players be using the dressing rooms?


Currently, players will not be permitted to use the dressing rooms. We will continue to work with the Town of Whitby and the Durham Public Health Unit to determine the safest way for players to dress and undress. It is possible that players will have to come to the rink dressed in most of their equipment and put on their remaining items (skates, helmet etc) once they arrive.


Will players have to wear a mask?


The Durham Public Health Unit requires a mask to be worn in all indoor spaces. It is expected players will wear a mask until they go on the ice at which point it will be removed.  Hockey Canada, the OHF and the OMHA do not require players to wear a splash guard

Do we have to complete a health screen before we come to the rink?


Yes, all parents, players, coaches and instructors will be required to complete a heath screen prior to participating in any hockey related activities.


Do coaches have to wear a mask on the bench?


Yes, all coaches will be required to wear a mask while on the bench.



When can we expect the season to start?


At this time, we are planning to start our House League program on October 17th and our Rep program in early October.


How much will hockey cost this year?


Reduced roster size, resulting in fewer players on the ice, in addition to lost revenue from tournaments has forced us to evaluate our registration rates. We remain committed to providing a registration rate that reflects the true cost of the season.



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