Winter Season Update – The Results Email We Sent

Thank you for your patience while we try to figure out the updated government restrictions, what that means for recreational sports, and how we continue going forward. We reached out to our players and got an overwhelming response of over 1000 players, so we really want to thank you for that!

The funny thing though, is that it didn’t really provide much in terms of a consensus, and it is very clear that players want different things. You can see the responses we got here:

We told you that we would have an update by the end of the week, and we have not come to a final decision yet, but we are working hard on the many options we have, and we do appreciate the feedback we got. We will try to address everyone’s concerns as best as we can and as quickly as possible.

We will be giving team refunds for games missed, so we are putting a plan together on how that will go as well. We appreciate your patience as we navigate through these difficult and unfavourable circumstances.

Please stay safe and healthy so that we can all get back to normal and back on the ice as soon as possible!

The NCHL – A Better Way To Play!

World Cup of Hockey Summer 2020 FAQ

How many teams or divisions will be able to play in your season?

  • The amount of teams that are able to sign up is only limited by ice availability. Teams will then be assigned to cohort groups containing a total of 4 teams in order to abide by the current AHS regulations.

How will you be ensuring that players only play in one cohort group as per AHS regulations?

  • The NCHL will be doing their due diligence by locking rosters and IDing players prior to the game. Teams will not be allowing spares outside of the cohort group.

What happens if we are unable to find a goalie for our game?

  • Our regular goalie rules do not apply. If your goalie is unable to make it and you are unable to pull a spare goalie from within your cohort, a team could dress a player or play six players on the ice for the duration of the game. Teams will not be forced to forfeit if they are unable to dress a goalie.

What happens if we put this team together for the season and are unable to all have matching jerseys?

  • Our regular jersey infraction rules do not apply. We only ask that teams are able to wear light (away) or dark (home) jerseys based on who is listed as home or away on the schedule. However, players should still all have their own individual numbers.

Help, my team is short. Can I bring out a spare?

  • In short, no. Groupings are limited to those already assigned to the cohort. All spare players must be sourced from the other teams within your cohort group. If you are having difficulty finding this information please reach out to the league and we will do our best to put you in touch with available players.

What tier should I sign up for?

o Tier I – No accumulation penalty shots (after 6 penalties)

o Tier II – Standard NCHL rules

o Tier III – Three goal max per player

o Tier IV – Three goal max per player & Fair Play rule (for beginner players and teams)

Return To Hockey Could Happen This Summer In Alberta – New COVID Regulations Released By The Province

Yesterday Alberta Premier, Jason Kenney announced that Stage 2 of the relaunch strategy will start on Friday, June 12th. The Premier also announced that organized sports and hockey rinks are now included in Stage 2 with restrictions.

This is great news! It means that we may be able to have hockey this summer after all. Hockey with restrictions is better than no hockey, any day of the week!

Some of the regulations announced by health authorities talk about set cohorts of 50 people where social distancing is not possible. Hockey falls into this category. The regulations say that these cohorts (mini-leagues) must stay together for the duration of the organized spots activity during Stage 2(read season).

We are still digesting all of the regulations put forward by the government yesterday (there are many, you can see what they are yourself here) so we can find a sustainable path forward to offer hockey to you and your teammates in a safe environment.

The health, safety and well being of our players and league officials is our number one priority.

We must be able to minimize the risk to everyone, if we can not play hockey safely within regulations provided by the government, we would rather not have hockey at all until it is safe to play (as much as it would pain us).

As we write this message to you, we are working as quickly as we can with our facility partners to put a plan in place for both the Winter Season, and possibly a version of a Summer Season starting as soon as there is ice to skate on.

Most if not all arenas took their ice out for summer once it became clear that a lock-down will be in place for an unforeseeable amount of time.

It will take arenas some time to get organized, put their ice back in and make sure facility and staff are compliant with new regulations put forward by the health authorities. We all want the same thing, return of play in a safe environment.

Once there is a plan that addresses all of the new regulations in place, we will be sending out another message announcing the details, so please stay tuned to your email and our social media.

The good news is, somehow, someway hockey will be back!

We look forward to getting back on the ice as soon as we can!

The NCHL – A Better Way To Play!

Where To From Here? A Message About Summer Hockey Season In Alberta

A few days ago we learned that the Government of Alberta is moving everything back one step. As of Friday no indoor dining will be allowed at restaurants, unless it is on a patio, while all other restrictions from step 1 are in effect as of the day of the announcement. So how does this affect summer hockey?

People are tired of COVID. We totally get it. It seems like the barrage of bad news just keeps on coming. Cases, positivity rate and hospitalizations are rising. But, the immunization rate is increasing as well. More and more people are getting the vaccine, and the province is receiving more doses weekly. As of April 6th, 755,831 doses of vaccine have been administered. Nearly 17 out of 100 people got one dose.

All this is a bump in the road. The hammer and the dance, inevitably predicted a year or so ago. Every day we are inching closer to normal. The Alberta Government also hinted at how we are going to go about reopening in the presser. Sure, the goal posts have moved, but they seem to make sense.

When all this will happen? All indications are that Stage 3 will be achieved sometime in mid June when every person over the age of 16 has had a chance to get the vaccine. In the meanwhile, hockey would probably be back in Stage 1 or 2. (if the government means immune is getting 1 dose, we should be at 22 people with a single dose out of 100 in less than a week or two).

Summer Hockey will happen this year, this is the path to recovery
The Path To Recover – Source, Government of Alberta, April 6th, 2021

What does this all mean for Summer 2021 Hockey Season?

There is one thing that isn’t in doubt. There will be a summer hockey season this year. When it will start we don’t know. But as we have said before, as soon as we have the green light for adult sports to start up again we will fire up the summer hockey season 2 weeks after that announcement. So be ready!

Sure the season may need to be adjusted an augmented depending on the actual start date. We are ready for that possibility, and we will make the best of it. On the outside chance that the summer hockey season is cancelled because of restrictions, your team fees will be refunded to your team GM. Read about how we did it in the winter here.

So either we play hockey this summer or you get your money back, and it is 100% guaranteed. Of course, if there is a reduction in the number of games for the season, the team will be credited the difference. We’ll do what is right as we have done every single time in the past.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate these crazy times together.

Stay safe!

The NCHL – A Better Way To Play!

When Will Hockey Be Back?

On March 22nd, 2020 the Government of Alberta will make a decision on moving to Step 3 of the reopening plan. This means that hockey can potentially resume. If this is, indeed, the case, that is great news!

That being said, and the recent history of how things went for Step 2, a delay is quite possible. We are prepared for this. Our original plan was to close team registration on March 24th, 2021 if hockey is to resume on time.

However, if a delay is in the cards, we will shift this, and other deadlines to match the pace of reopening.

In other words, team registration will close two weeks before the start of the summer season. The summer season will start 2 weeks after the announcement is made that hockey (adult sports) will go ahead.

At this point we have absolutely no doubt that the summer season will go ahead! More people are getting vaccinated every day, and by the end of June, everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one according to the plan laid out by the AHS.

Sure we may not start on time, but we will start, and we will be playing soon.

What is that going to look like? To start we are preparing to operate under the same rules placed on us by the government in the winter. Meaning, there will be cohorts, but your team can still have a full roster!

At some point when everyone has had a chance to get the vaccine, we anticipate the rules will change, and cohorts will not longer be required. If this is not the case, we can still have a season with full rosters.

To summarize. Yes the summer season will go ahead (we don’t know exactly when, hopefully April 7th). Most likely there will be cohorts in place for some, or the whole length season. Your team can have 16 players on the roster (what we call full roster size).

Thank you for your patience, and for choosing the NCHL.

We are all in this together, and we will figure out how to navigate all this successfully, as we have done over the past year.

The NCHL – A Better Way To Play


Summer hockey is the best time to play!

Step 2 Activated – What does this mean for summer hockey?

On March 8th we officially entered Step 2. After about a week of delays the government finally loosened restrictions to match what it said it will do here. We have been under the hospitalizations threshold for step 2 for a while, and yet, still no summer hockey.

Better be safe than sorry, right? No one wants to see a third lock-down. (If you don’t care about our rationale of how we get to the conclusion skip the next few paragraphs to what we think will happen this summer for hockey.)

To be clear, hospitalizations are a lagging indicator. People end up in the hospital at some point after they get COVID (days or weeks). The politicians didn’t do themselves any favors by telling all of us to concentrate on this metric. Leading indicators apparently matter a whole lot more (and they should).

Less new cases means less active cases later. Less new cases means less people will likely to be hospitalized. Say the hospitalization rate is 4.5% (that is what’s reported on this page) and today’s cases are 278, then 12.51 people will end up in the hospital at some point. Sounds like one of these word problems from grade 5, but that is how the math breaks down. And it is hard to argue with data.

 

Summer Hockey, What Will Happen This Year?

Another indicator is the R value. Or reproduction rate, really should be called R squared. A value of above 1 means exponential growth in cases. However it is calculated in retrospect. You can see more about how it all works here if you are interested. As of today the R value is 0.95. This means the rate of transmission is decreasing. So good job everyone!

 

Odds Are in Our Favor Right Now

The minister said the government will not make a decision on Step 3 until March 22nd (this is 3 weeks after they made the decision on Step 2). There is a very outside chance, think hospitalizations below 150, low test positivity rate, and R value well below 1, for the government to accelerate some loosening of restrictions before then.

Odds are more like 50/50 we see the province advance to Step 3 on time. Step 3 means adult sports are allowed. Probably in the cohort model for a while (we think till June 30th at least since this is when everyone should be able to receive at least one dose of the vaccine). Most likely they will follow the same tactics used in Step 2, loosen something on March 22nd, but not go all the way and if things remain on track move to Step 3 in the following week.

 

What Does it All Mean For Summer Hockey?!

For summer hockey it means two things. First. There will be summer hockey unless something catastrophic happens between now and March 22nd (or a week after that). More people will get the first dose of the vaccine. There will be less transmission. This is where the trend is going. Ok, maybe we are not in Step 3 on March 22nd, maybe we are in Step 3 on April 1st or 7th, or whatever date you want to pick this spring. We will be in Step 3 at some point. And Step 3 means hockey!

What’s the second thing? Well, we operate in a world of high uncertainty right now. We know that there will be summer hockey but we don’t know exactly when the season will start. All depends on Step 3! That being said, we are ready to go in 2 weeks after we enter Step 3. The reason? We need time to build the schedule and finalize team registration.

We understand that playing hockey in a COVID/post COVID world is a personal decision. But if you, like us, want to play hockey as soon as possible you can help.

The league does not happen without teams and players. And the longer teams or players delay their decision on what they will be doing this season the less room we have to maneuver when it comes to how much ice we can get and how many teams we can allow to register.

 

What can I do to make summer hockey happen?

Go to your team GM and tell him or her you are dying to play. Show them that you are ready to pay your team fees. Get them to register the team and help rally the troops. The sooner we have teams register the easier it is to build the schedule and make hockey happen. So yes, you have a part to play. A big part. This is how you can help.

By the way, on the slimiest of chances that the season does not happen, we will take care of you and your team. Any money paid is refundable in this situation (restrictions in place so season can’t go ahead). We will credit the team account like we did this winter and your team GM can redistribute the fee back to you the player.

You literally have nothing to lose. Fees are 100% guaranteed. But if we don’t get on with this you may not have a place to play this summer.

NCHL – A Better Way to Play!

 

 

More Good News We Heard – Day 356 Since First Shutdown

Dear Diary, today was a nice day outside. Finally it feels like spring is just around the corner. The sun was shining, and it was warm. Hope is in the air.

The best news we’ve heard so far, everyone who is 18 and older will have a chance to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by June 30th, 2020. The minster of health and Dr. Hinshaw announced this today.  And by fall everyone will get their second dose! Of course deliveries will have to be kept on time for this to happen.

So will there be a summer hockey season? You will have to judge for yourself. We think the odds are heavily on our favor now. There is little chance the season will get cancelled if enough people are vaccinated. In fact we expect the restrictions to begin loosening sooner than later.

Will the summer hockey season start on time? That we do not know yet. We certainly hope so, and we see the trend moving in the right direction.

There is even talk of fans at Flames and Oilers game, skip to 16:30 to listen to the question/answer about that.

But here, listen to the news conference for yourself.

 

Everyone, 18+ Will Get A Chance At Vaccine By June 30th

As far as the stats go. As of today, there are 245 people in hospitals across Alberta, including 47 in ICU. This is a decrease of 6 hospitalizations and a drop of 1 in ICU patients. So things are moving in the right direction there. These of course are lagging indicators.

And now to the leading indicators. 331 new cases were reported with a positivity rate is 3.6%. This is also a decrease from yesterday. Strangely the R rate was not mentioned in today’s presser. Must not be too concerning then?

As far as March 22nd date for moving to step 3 goes, the minister said, hospitalizations as well as leading indicators need to be stable. We are optimistic! Watch for Jonson & Jonson vaccine to speed the vaccination pace up as it should be approved withing a few weeks, if not sooner in our opinion.

 

What about BC?

According to CBC, “There are 248 people in hospital, 63 of whom are in intensive care. There are currently 4,743 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 8,659 close contacts of confirmed cases are being monitored by public health. “

BC government has not really said what things will look like going forward as far as reopening goes. Last update was on November 18th, 2020. So we wait and see.

That’s it for today. Have a safe night.

Hockey, we miss you!

Things We Learned Today – Day 355 Since First Shutdown

Dear Diary, it has been 355 days since Winter 2019-20 season has come abruptly to an end on March 13th, a.k.a Pandemic Friday.

So where are we at?

Well, things are starting to look up for summer hockey. We are getting vaccines, and vaccines are freedom. Today we heard that Alberta will be following BC’s lead. Any adult, 18+ according to Dr. Hinshaw will be vaccinated with the first dose by early summer if they so choose.

That is awesome, awesome news. If everyone has protection against the virus, restrictions will be eased sooner than later. Who needs cohorts when everyone is immunized? We don’t know that this will be the case, but things are leaning this way.

Hospitalizations are steady, as of today, there are 251 people being treated for COVID-19, a reduction of 10 from the day before. There were 48 people in ICU in the province. Positivity rate is 3.92 percent and R value is 1.01. So overall things are improving.

We think the government is going slow with step 2 relaxation of restrictions to buy time to jab more arms. This should prevent any notion of further lock-downs and cancellations. Majority of active cases are now in people who are 50 or younger, who experience less severe outcomes and tend to not get hospitalized.

 

The bottom line, we know things seem uncertain, but we are optimistic that summer hockey will happen. It will be safer than it has ever been in nearly a year. It might not start when we think it will, but it will start. And we will play! We hope you join us.

Summer Interest Payments Delayed

Hello NCHL Family,

If you missed the news last week, we unfortunately made the tough decision to cancel the Winter 2020-21 Season. All teams will be credited for any games that they did not play because of the COVID restrictions.

You can see the full announcement and how to get refunds here.

We also have good news though, as we officially opened registration for the Summer 2021 Season, and already have lots of teams signed up!

We also made the decision today to extend the non-interest deadline to March 15th, which means that all players’ payment plans come with zero interest if you sign up before that date. Starting on March 15th, monthly payment plans come with a 10% interest fee.

You can see all the details for the Summer Season here.

Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing us at info [at] nchl.com

Thank you for choosing the NCHL!

Winter 2020-21 Season Cancelled

Hello NCHL Family,

We held out hope, but unfortunately there is no feasible way that we can continue the Winter 2020-21 NCHL Season. Your team will be credited for any games that they did not play because of the COVID restrictions.

Because of our money collection policy, we will only be giving Team GMs refunds, and they will be responsible for distributing refunds to their players.

GMs can fill out this form here to request a refund, and refunds will be processed in the order they are received. Please allow time for us to process these.

We also have good news though, as we are officially opening registration for the Summer 2021 Season! You can see all the details for the Summer Season here.

If you would like to keep your team’s funds on account, you can use these towards the Summer Season or next Winter Season if you will not be playing this summer.

Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing us at info [at] nchl.com

Thank you for choosing the NCHL!

The Results Are In, What To Do About The Winter Hockey Season In Alberta?

Just as we thought we knew what’s going on, the government threw a new curve ball at everyone and allowed minor sports to continue their seasons in development mode.

In the meanwhile we asked you the player, what should be done about the remainder of our own winter season and the response has been overwhelming! We received over 1,000 responses. Thank you for participating and giving us your thoughts.

So without further adieu, here they are.

 

Calgary

 

Calgary Results – What should happen to this winter hockey season?

The first question we asked was, what would you rather do this winter, get your money back, finish the season off or try to fit as many games as possible into what is left of winter if restrictions are lifted. The results are at best mixed, but most people want to play in some fashion.

 

Calgary Results – What should the summer season look like?

The second question we asked was, what should the summer season look like. Some of you don’t play summer hockey which is fair. Though this summer will probably be quite different than most, travel is still unlikely. Why not play summer hockey?

Clearly, there is no consensus here on what the season should look like, we will do our best to figure it out so you can have a great time playing hockey this summer!

 

Edmonton

The results in Edmonton were not much clearer and were quite similar to what we saw in Calgary.

 

Edmonton Results – What should happen to this winter hockey season?

More of you wanted to start the summer on time than cram the winter season into a few months left in the season, and of course some of you wanted refunds but the majority wants to play some kind of hockey. Of course this is a personal decision for each person.

 

Edmonton Results – What should summer season look like?

Again some of you do not play summer hockey. Which is fair. Though if normally don’t maybe you should give it a try? The commitment is not huge. And again there are many opinions on what summer hockey should look like, but it is clear we all miss playing!

We also received all kinds of comments about what should happen, we read them all and they will factor into our decision making process. There were some real good ones in there, and some really entertaining ones.

Regardless, we are nearly there with the plan of what will happen next. Once we have the quirks ironed out, we will put it out there for everyone to see what is next. There is one thing for sure, we will continue playing hockey at some point, and we hope you do so as well.

Thank you for your patience with us while we navigate our way out of this mess. It is much appreciated.

The NCHL – A Better Way To Play!

 

What to do about Winter Hockey Season? Help us decide, your opinion matters!

By now you probably have heard that Government of Alberta announcement on January 29th, 2021 and hockey is not looking like it’s in the cards for a while.

We are working on the best options for the NCHL to move forward and we need your help!

Please take 1 minute of your day to fill out this short, anonymous survey. Answers will be accepted until Thursday, February 4th. Your opinion matters greatly to us.

After that will have another update by the end of this week with more info on what we will happen with the 2021 Winter and Summer Seasons.

Customer Guarantee: As always, we guarantee that when we cannot provide the product you registered for, your team account will be refunded the difference of the games that you did not receive.

Thank you for your patience in these trying time, and for playing with us all these years.

The NCHL – A Better Way To Play!