Playing Winter Ice Hockey In A COVID World – Registration Information For Edmonton Teams (AKA – The Plan)

As far as plans go, someone once said everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face (Ok it was Mike Tyson and we are paraphrasing). Mike did get one thing right, with all this uncertainty surrounding us during the great calamity called COVID-19, how can one plan anything right now? Yet we somehow have to proceed with life and hockey.

While no one knows what will happen in the future, we are operating under the assumption that hockey will be back to some kind of normal without the draconian restrictions placed on it by the vagaries of the pandemic.

Other jurisdictions do not have cohort requirements right now, in Manitoba players can play on as many hockey teams as they want and there is no limitation on team sizes as a result. The same is true in some places in BC (we heard through the hockey grapevine that in Victoria people have been playing beer league hockey for the past 6 weeks without cohort restrictions – could be just a rumor though).

So the trend seems to be moving in the right direction in regards to what winter may look like. And thus we have decided to offer a regular winter hockey season to all our teams that will include:

  • Choose Your Schedule Option (only in the NCHL)
  • The NCHL Experience – playing hockey in a safe, fun, competitive and well organized environment
  • 30 Regular Season Games
  • 1 Guaranteed Playoff Game (every team makes the playoffs)
  • Best of 3 finals (way more games for your team)
  • 3 stop time periods, 15 minutes each
  • 2 Referees and 1 Scorekeeper at Each Game (or you get a team credit)
  • Online Stats For All Teams and Players
  • Individual Payments for Players (only in the NCHL)
  • Payment Options – one, two or monthly
  • Season Start – After September 1st, 2020
  • Season End – Before April 30th, 2021

See full season details …

“But you just said no one can tell the future, so how can you offer this and be sure it will actually happen?” you may be wondering, and rightly so. This is our plan for winter. If for whatever reason we are not able to offer you hockey in this manner come winter, we will need to adjust so we can still play. It will come down playing hockey vs not playing hockey, and we think playing hockey is always the better choice.

So here is our promise to you, if we are not able to offer the season as outlined above, and have to adjust or cancel hockey all together you will always have the option to either get a refund for the remaining games you did not get, or keep the team fees as a credit until hockey returns.

We will work with each and every team to make sure we take care of you and the wishes of your players. The same way we did this past winter season when it was abruptly cancelled, and the summer season that never happened. All teams that wanted a refund for games not played have been taken care of.

THE IMPORTANT STUFF

Today we are releasing the season and pricing information for winter. Some plans stayed the same, while others had to be adjusted a little due to increased costs from arenas. Ice costs did go up in some places, because the arenas must now sanitize surfaces more often, purchase additional PPE and have more staff.

Here is the link to Edmonton Winter Team Fees and all available schedule plans. This year we are again offering 4 schedule options, Home Ice Premium (you get to draft your schedule ahead of everyone based on the order of your deposit), Home Ice (half the games same rink, same day and same time), Regular (choose your schedule) and Budget (do everything on your own to collect team fees, the cheapest league hockey option in Calgary but you don’t get to choose the schedule you get).

Registration will open on Tuesday July 7th, at noon MST. Pre-registered teams will have until Thursday July, 8th at noon MST to complete the registration and join the Winter 2020-21 NCHL-Edmonton Hockey Season. We strongly encourage you to provide us with a deposit at the time of registration or instructing us to apply any unused team credits on account towards your deposit. Teams that have enough credit on account are assumed to have their deposit fully paid at the time of registration.

See important deadlines here …

If you pre-registered your team earlier when we did not know which way was up, thank you for your support! That means you now have a 48 hour advantage over any other team that did not do so, and you can complete your registration ahead of these teams. Why is this important?

Teams that want to get the best possible ice times we can offer for winter (we picked up a few good ones this year) need to be at the top of the deposit order because this order determines the selection of your schedule in the schedule draft. Teams that chose Home Ice Premium option will be choosing first in the draft ahead of any other team that chose a different schedule option but we will be looking at the deposit order as well.

For example, if the first overall team in the deposit order bought Home Ice or Regular as their schedule option, it will be given a chance to upgrade to Home Ice Premium on the spot and will then be able to choose the best ice time for them, out of all available ice times or not.

If an upgrade is not selected by this team, we will go through all of the Home Ice Premium teams first so they can select their schedules, and then come back to Home Ice teams, the team that has the highest placement in the deposit order at that point will choose first, and we will continue this process until all Home Ice teams chose their schedule for the season. After that teams that bought a Regular schedule will choose their schedule in the same manner.

That being said, you get the most choice with Home Ice Premium, then with Home Ice and finally the least amount of choice is available to the teams who bought the Regular schedule option. Finally the Budget teams do not get a choice, and are simply assigned a schedule for the season. What does this mean for you?

If choice is important to you, buy Home Ice Premium and get your deposit in as quickly as you can. If you buy Home Ice, you will need to wait until teams with Home Ice Premium schedule packages have chosen their ice times.

Otherwise, if you do not care about what you get so much, and want to save money please choose the Regular schedule, because what may happen is this. Teams with either of the home ice schedule options may end up in your division, and if you are the only Regular team in that division, you will not have a choice but play on the home ice chosen by these teams. It could be good, it could be bad, so you are taking a gamble.

Oh and one more thing, we can only physically accommodate half the league for Home Ice Premium or Home Ice, because in order for us to guarantee at least half the games at the same rink, at the same time on the same day, the cut off is 50% of teams. It makes perfect sense if you think about it. So if this is important to you, please do not wait, complete your registration ASAP and put your deposit down (it is $1500 for either of the home ice options). Once we sell out, all we will be able to offer is what is left.

The NCHL – A Better Way To Play!

A Message From the City of Edmonton About Arena Reopen Dates This Summer

On June 9, 2020 the Province announced Stage 2 of Alberta’s relaunch plan would begin on June 12, 2020 and that several amenities had been moved up from Stage 3 to Stage 2 of the plan, including indoor recreation centres, arenas and indoor pools.

This is exciting news, however before facilities are able to reopen, the City has embarked on a thoughtful process of reviewing our reopening plans against our current budget realities, including forecasting our future revenues in this new environment. This includes understanding how we can reopen our recreation centres, arenas and indoor pools in a way that complies with new public health and safety requirements while considering current operational resources and budget constraints.

While we intend on beginning to open facilities starting in July, this plan will be staged – meaning that not all facilities will open at the same time and it may take months before we go back to more “normal” operations. The services that we offer at opened facilities will look very different. Given existing health guidelines, we must adapt some services and pause others. We will not immediately be able to provide our full line of programs and the number of visitors allowed will be significantly lower than normal.

Decisions on what facilities to open, when to open them, and what services to offer will need to consider larger City-wide financial implications, including COVID-19 related costs. This will be done carefully to ensure we are balancing public health guidelines, financial impacts and operational needs.

Information on our reopening plans will be shared as our plans are approved and budgets are allocated.

Once reopening dates are confirmed, we will be reaching out to rental groups to confirm if they are able to comply with Alberta Health Services directives, including the Province’s Guidance for Sports, Physical Activity and Recreation, and if they are still interested in moving forward with the rentals that they had made pre-COVID-19.

Many sport governing bodies have developed, or are in the process of developing sport-specific guidelines to provide direction on how their sports’ activities can be modified to comply with Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Government directives regarding physical distancing and avoiding the sharing of common equipment. Groups are expected to follow the sport governing body’s guidelines with respect to these modifications.

It is also the group’s responsibility, if applicable, to ensure that sanctioned activities are permitted through their association and/or sport governing body.

It was announced by the City of Edmonton that the rentals process on City-operated sports fields, ball diamonds and staffed track and field facilities would resume on June 15, 2020.

The City will continue to monitor the virus and its impacts to public health, in partnership with the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada. As this situation changes, we will keep you informed. Information about the City’s response can be found on our COVID-19 page.

Thank you


Arena Bookings
City Of Edmonton

Are you throwing away $600?

Imagine you have $600 in your pocket. What could you do with that money? Would you throw it away? Well, this is what is exactly about to happen in a few days. You will be throwing away up to $600.

“Wait, wait, wait, how am I throwing away up to $600?” By not having your team registered on Breakout for the winter hockey season! Teams that are registered in the month of May, will get extra 30 days to receive that Early Bird credit. Returning Team and Early Bird credits can add up to $600.

The best part is you don’t even need to pay anything to get the extension. Just let your fingers do the work, a couple of taps on your phone screen or the keyboard and you can easily join the winter hockey season on Breakout. It will literally take 1 minute of your day to do it, but will give you 30 extra days to bring your team invoice to zero.

But you say: “Ah I don’t know, the team might not go this winter, I don’t know if I have enough players …” or something similar. We get it, being a GM is a tough business, always be recruiting, right? (have you heard of the secret FreeAgent Facebook group where you can pick up players for the season, that is only available to NCHL GMs?)

This is why if the team does not go, simply leave the winter season or delete the team on Breakout, no sweat off your back. What is the downside? That is right, there is none.

So go online or on your app right now, before you forget, and join the Winter 2019-20 Season on Breakout with your existing team, or make a new one. Then pat yourself on the back for making a smart decision!

By the way if you already registered your team for the winter hockey season, you are awesome and we thank you! Welcome back to the NCHL – A Better Way to Play!

P.S. Teams that register by midnight (MST) May 31st, 2019 will get an Early Bird credit extension until end of day August 1st, 2019.

Lets play hockey, because, the alternative is unthinkable!

This post contains relevant information for the Calgary, and Edmonton leagues only – Updated May 27th, 2019