The Sarnia Hockey Association (SHA) recognizes the significant impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on sports and recreation. We have heard how important hockey is to our families, coaches, and participants and are committed to doing what is necessary to keep our rinks as safe as possible for the coming season. We are committed to a return to hockey this fall and have maintained that the safety of our players, bench staff, officials, volunteers, families and spectators will be our first priority in our return to the game.
At the recent Board of Directors meeting for SHA, the Board endorsed the ALLIANCE Hockey vaccination policy released on September 3, 2021. Without compliance to our parent organization’s directive, we would not be able to offer sanctioned programming which would leave our Representative teams with no league to play in and leave both our Representative and Recreational teams playing intra-team games with limited size team cohorts similar to last season. In addition, we would have to cancel our Recreational Winter Classic tournament held in December and the Silver Stick tournament held in January 2022. Our Board decided this was not a tenable position for our membership. In addition, other member partners of the Ontario Hockey Federation (i.e., OMHA, GTHL, NOHA, OHL) have also implemented a vaccination requirement.
In keeping with ALLIANCE Hockey’s most recent announced policy for their member associations, the SHA will now require proof of COVID-19 immunization for all players, coaches, bench staff, officials, and volunteers who are eligible for vaccination (including those born in or before 2009), unless exempted. Eligible participants will require proof of having received their first dose by September 17, 2021 and be fully vaccinated by October 31, 2021.
Ensuring that all eligible individuals are vaccinated will provide us the best opportunity to keep our participants on the ice and will support larger cohorts and regular team play.
Further details regarding implementation of this policy, exemption qualifications, providing proof of vaccination, etc. will follow in the near future.
Chairman, Sarnia Hockey Association