By Doug Kennedy
KMHA could not have two better people heading up the back-to-play program. Derrick Burrows is well known to every kid that has ever played minor hockey in the last 40 years. He has run the tyke program since Keith Davidson retired. Jeremy McQuillen is a really good KMHA coach and part owner of the PEP program, which is popular for skill development in young players.
I am sure kids are excited about hitting the ice this week at the Davidson Centre. KMHA has over 300 kids signed up for this season, which will be different than any other they have played in.
KMHA President Tom Desmond is excited about getting the program started this week.
Phase one runs from Oct. 5 to Nov. 5. and will be similar to the KMHA performance hockey school. This phase is focused on development and will ease the hockey community into the new facility protocols and our new “normal” with hockey today. Until Tiverton ice goes in this November, the kids will have two skates per week.
Phase two will be begin on November 9.This plan will allow kids to play games and have practices only against players from our Municipality. KMHA is calling it a tiered house league. The KMHA hockey committee will separate kids by age and skill level. This will promote skill development and competition that will be enjoyed by all players. The current model will have nine skaters and one goalie on each team. A bubble of four to five teams will play in each group.
Younger age groups will play three-on-three on half the ice. The older groups will play four-on-four. There will be at least one practice per week for all teams. Registration numbers will determine how much more ice time each team gets. Registration for stage two will begin in early October.
Phase three will begin in January 2021. This is when the WOAA hopes they can play other municipalities in the area in a four or five team league. This will depend on the recommendations of Public Health and the COVID situation.
All three plans are subject to change because of the direction it gets from the Health Board, OHF and Hockey Canada.
As you might be aware, the WOAA senior hockey league is shutting down for this winter. The vote was 11-one to cancel the season. WOAA president Al Dickson said the teams felt the risk was too great to even thinking about having a season.
The PJHL is meeting in the next few weeks to decide on this season. The OJHL started about a month ago with workouts with only 25 players on the ice at a time. In the last couple of weeks, five teams out of 20 had to shut down because of COVID infections among team players. A couple of those teams were Oakville and Markham, and the chance of having any junior hockey this winter isn’t looking very good.
The PJHL had their annual meeting last Saturday by ZOOM, where they chose their new board of directors. For the next two years, Mike Hackett from the Kincardine Bulldogs organization will be on the board. Hackett has been on different committees the last few years with the PJHL and is one of those people that every good organization needs. He is a great organizer who makes the Bulldogs a first class organization. Rob Nixon from the Mount Forest Patriots is also on the board and Terry Whiteside from Durham is the commissioner. I also work for the PJHL as a conference manager.