Since our last email update to the Club, we have continued to gather information from our primary rinks (Mount Vernon and Fort Dupont) as it has become available. Based on the gathered information (detailed below in our Hockey Updates,) we plan to begin an age group-based Skills and Drills Program starting in November with monthly sign ups.
Details of the Skills and Drills Program:
- This Program will not include any competition-based drills, games, or scrimmages. All participants (players and coaches) will need to remain 6-10 feet apart on the ice during drills.
- We will plan for each Age/Ability Group to participate in two ice sessions per week. These will primarily occur on the weekend and at Mount Vernon. Age Group ice times will start with the youngest players in the morning and the oldest players later in the day.
- Ice times for each session will be approximately 45 minutes.
- Ice sessions will be limited to 24 players (with 2 coaches).
- Parents will not be allowed to stay in the rink during the sessions.
- The cost is still to be determined. Note that price per ice slot will be higher than in previous seasons because of the limited number of skaters allowed on the ice at one time.
To determine our ability to run a program that provides value to players while still meeting the safety standards required by Fairfax County, the District, and the Parks Authority, we plan to run pilot sessions in early October. If the pilot program is successful, we will move forward with our Skills and Drills Program in November. If the pilot sessions are not successful, we will not conduct organized activities as a Club until public safety standards ease and we can successfully conduct hockey operations at either Mount Vernon or Fort Dupont. We will use information gathered from our CBHL, Girls, and 8U registrations and the recently published CCHL survey to identify potential candidates for our return to hockey pilot program. Please do not reach out to the Club to volunteer for this. If you do receive an invite for participation in the pilot, please respond as quickly as possible so we can lock down slots or identify other candidates.
We recognize that the Skills and Drills Program may not be a good fit for all our players. If you are looking for games, scrimmages, and non-distanced drills, we encourage you to sign up with other area programs who are hosting those activities. If you decide to play elsewhere this season, please email email@example.com to let us know so we can remove you from our pre-registration list.
- Mount Vernon will not rent ice to external organizations (such as ours) until the 9th of September and will start with a player cap of 24 and a coaching cap of two on the ice. Players and coaches must remain 6-10 ft apart both off and on the ice and no competition drills or events will be allowed by the rink. We have low confidence these standards will change until Virginia moves to a new COVID recovery phase.
- Fort Dupont has not yet received permission to reopen but has provided us with a preview of the standards they are including in their reopening request to the city. These include players and coaches remaining 6-10 ft apart both on and off the ice, no competition drills or events on the ice, and all on-ice participants (players and coaches) wearing masks at all times. We have low confidence these standards will change until the District of Columbia moves to a new COVID recovery phase.
- Both the CBHL and CCHL are currently targeting November 1st for the formal start of their seasons (to include games). We will use our Skills and Drills Sessions registration number, lessons learned from our pilot, along with the shifting guidance from CDC, State, Local, Affiliate, League and Rink officials, to make a decision on team level competitions as we get closer to that date. We have low confidence that we can participate in competitions until local governments move to a different phase.
Thank you to all our Ice Dog players, coaches, volunteers, and families for your understanding, patience and cooperation while we develop a plan for the 20/21 season that can be safely and effectively implemented in the weeks and months ahead.
-NVHC Board of Directors