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!