The Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) will be mandating that all eligible participants involved in minor hockey have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the upcoming season. All eligible participants are required to to be double-dosed by October 31, 2021.
“We realize this continues to be a difficult and uncertain time for everyone. However, our priority is getting our kids back to hockey this fall in as safe a manner as possible,” said OMHA President, Bob Hill. “By taking an approach to control all that we can with mandatory vaccinations for all participants, along with continuing social distancing guidelines, we feel this is the best way forward to ensure a successful return to play this season and that we all benefit from what hockey has to offer.”
The OMHA said it is determined to get as many children back into the rink safely as possible.
“The benefits to our children playing hockey again are immeasurable,” explained Hill. “In a recent OMHA study, over 83% of families surveyed mentioned that their children playing hockey helped reduce feelings of isolation and was beneficial to their mental health. This is a belief our organization shares.”
In a statement, Hill said they don’t want children in Ontario to miss any more hockey this coming season.
“The benefits to their physical and mental health, not to mention that of their families and the hockey communities they play in, will be tied to their ability to get back to the activities that are vital to their growth and development – including the physical activity and friendships associated with hockey.”
Mandatory vaccinations and maintaining safe COVID and social distancing practices at all rinks (91% of parents surveyed at the end of the 2020-21 season felt satisfied with safety measures put in place) will limit future shutdowns of our game, said Hill, and could ultimately ensure a child’s hockey experience and the related benefits to their local hockey communities.
For specific information around the OMHA’s vaccination policy, please click here. Our accommodations policies are currently being finalized, and will be published when they are complete.
“With a season like no other right around the corner, we urge everyone to do their part; get vaccinated, wear your mask, respect the rules of your community and arenas. Together we can make our return to hockey this fall stronger than ever,” added Hill.