Slave Lake Minor Hockey Association issued a stern warning to parents and other spectators on Oct. 7. The rules regarding behaviour in the rink at practice or games are “non-negotiable.” If they aren’t obeyed, SLMHA is prepared to ban all spectators.
Those are pretty sharp words, but rules are rules, and in this case, they come down to the local association from above. Alberta Health Services and Hockey Alberta have determined that to operate during a pandemic, people have to stay in their seats and stay away from other people who are staying in their seats. There’s a list of other ‘don’ts’ people have to observe if they want to keep attending games and practices.
The warning, posted on the SLMHA website, suggests there have been some problems in the early going, although it doesn’t specifically say that.
In the meantime, two weeks of evaluations are now in the books and players will be assigned to teams soon if they aren’t already. For the first while, teams will be playing other teams in a ‘cohort’ that doesn’t exceed 50 people, per the AHS rules. That will likely be three teams per cohort. Whether those are all local (as had been suggested earlier), or teams from nearby towns, remains to be seen.
Enforcement of the COVID rules are up to the user groups. From the town’s point of view, says Community Relations Manager Jillian Shepherd, “things are going good.” The only thing that isn’t going as well is facility rentals.
“We’ve got lots of space!” Shepherd says. “Give us a call, at 849-8028.”