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 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!



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!


Things are going to look a little different this season.  But that is not a surprise by now. AHS and other governing bodies rules and regulations require us to have teams in cohorts and officials to physically distance themselves where possible, and wear masks when not possible.

With this in mind here is what we are doing this winter to keep everyone safe on, and off the ice.


  • The off-ice official (Time Keeper, TK) will have no contact with players and all players that have to enter the penalty box for an infraction must stay as far away from the TK as possible.
  • The timekeeper will no longer open or close the gate for a penalized player.  It is the responsibility of the player to ensure the penalty gate is securely closed upon re-entering the ice surface.
  • Your team is required to provide a copy of your roster with any player adds, jersey number changes, and so on, to the referee at the start of warm up.  
  • The TK will verify your roster against the printed copy of the game sheet and both will be submitted at the end of the game.  
  • All rosters are final at the end of the game so please ensure your rosters are accurate when handed into the referee.


  • The on ice officials (Referees) will physically distance themselves as much as possible from the play, and will limit interactions with players.  
  • You will notice that officials will no longer go to the net when there is a crowd, instead they must stay towards the corner of the ice to make calls. When it is not possible for the officials to physically distance themselves, they will wear a face covering.
  • Officials will not enter the circle for face-offs until players are set and ready for the puck to be dropped. The official will wear a mask for puck drop.
  • Officials will no longer stay on the boards when required to be near the player benches instead they will distance themselves from the boards or move into the zone sooner to avoid lingering amongst players.
  • Referees will also dump pucks onto the ice to start warm up and pick them up after.  Please make sure your players are GENTLY passing the pucks to the officials from a safe distance. A penalty can be assessed to your team if a referee is hit with a stray puck that is carelessly shot towards them during this period.  

We will adapt our procedures as required throughout the season and communicate any changes to you.

Lets play hockey this winter in a safe and fun environment.

Thank you from all of us at the NCHL.

NCHL – A Better Way to Play!


We have been working in very close communication with all NCHL facilities and have been playing through many different scenarios on how we can get this upcoming season online while adhering to ‘return to play protocol’ outlined by Alberta Health & Safety, Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada.

The good news is we have a plan!

This new plan will address two major concerns that you told us are very important to deal with. Larger roster sizes (more people per team, less fees) and secondly, larger division sizes (more teams to play against, better parity).

We are happy to announce have found a way to play hockey in as normal of an environment as allowed by the safety protocols. We will NOT have to limit divisions to four team (11 player rosters) in order to stay within cohort requirements. We will be playing 5 v 5 hockey this winter in a safe way.

How will this work?

We will be grouping teams into divisions of six teams (two groups/cohorts of three per ‘rotation’). Each team will play a series of four games in a rotation.

As teams complete their final games of the rotation they will enter into a 14-day (minimum) ‘isolation period’ while the remaining teams continue to play until they have played their four games.

Once teams have completed their isolation period, the division will be restructured with two new groups of three (one new team per group) and each team will continue again to play two games each against the teams in their grouping.

This will continue in the same manner throughout the remainder of the season or until we have word that things can return to ‘normal’.

Sounds complicated?

It is! That’s why we’re figuring it out for you, and that is why it has to taken us a while to get the details out to you. Thank you for your patience.  

It will all make sense once you have your set team schedule. The basics are: you play four games then you take a minimum 14 day break, rinse, wash, repeat.

You can have rosters of up to 16 players (per rotation), after an isolation period you can add/remove as many players as needed as long as the team roster doesn’t exceed 16 players during each rotation period.

Why is this a better solution than other options out there?

There are three very good reasons.

Firstly, fees. If you have less players on a team, the team fee has to be spread out among less players. Since it does not matter if there is 1 person or 40 people on the ice at the same time, the base cost remains the same and team fees don’t change. Less players on the team, more fees per player.

The second reason is roster sizes and spares. If you are only allowed 11 players it will surely be the case that you will need to call spares. That will be a hard thing to do on a nightly basis and actually will be impossible after a while when the space in the cohort is exhausted. In our plan after each 4 game sequence cohorts reset, and more players become available. You will also need less spares since you can use up to 16 spots per 4 game rotation.

Lastly, when things go back to normal, and restrictions are relaxed or lifted you won’t have to remake your team, charge players more to play or change anything really about your team! We will be ready to resume hockey as normal without having to turn the ship around.

Will we still have ‘Home Ice’?

Unfortunately, no. We will not be able to offer any upgraded packages at this time. All teams will have a ‘regular’ schedule which will be a mix of many different ice times, days, arenas, within their conference.

Although, you will definitely want to keep your credit on account if you have selected an upgraded package, as we will rebuild the season once we are clear to resume normal conditions. You will be able to pick your Home Ice schedule then.

Once the season has been completed, we will then issue prorated refunds to each team for the portion of the season that packages were unable to be fulfilled.

You may choose to receive a refund for the upgraded portion of your package now, but if you do, you will no longer have that package when we resume play under normal conditions, and will lose your pick position.

Will there be realignment?

Yes, although it will be a much more complicated procedure than it would be in a normal season, we will be moving teams as required. This may mean a possible extension of the isolation period for the teams that are moving into new divisions. During the holiday break (around Christmas) we will also look at a major realignment for all divisions if required.

Do we have to sign a special waiver?

All players will be required to ensure they have completed the most current NCHL player waiver on the Breakout app as well as the NCHL COVID-19 screening waiver.

Also, depending on which conference your team is in and where you play, you may be required to fill out an additional waiver for certain facilities.

Do we have to wear a mask?

As per Alberta Health & Safety guidelines, all league participants will be asked to wear a mask upon entering any facility and to be worn at all times within the facility except when entering the arena playing area (AHS does not recommend wearing a mask while participating in intense physical activity).

What else do we have to do to ensure we are following protocol and being safe?

Each facility is unique and may or may not have their own set of independent guidelines, rules or protocol for their facility. We will send more detailed information as required prior to season startup.

When is season startup?

The tentative first day of games for the 2020-2021 Winter season is September 10, 2020.

Lets Play Hockey!

The NCHL – A Better Way to Play!

Winter Hockey Season Start Delayed in Richmond, But This Is Good News

Just a quick update. We have spoken to the Richmond Oval and we need to delay the start of the winter season slightly. We are waiting on the Oval to finalize their processes and procedures for the winter and this is what is causing this delay.

Your safety is our number one priority and we want to make sure we start the season right. We are abiding by all regulations in place by the facility and BC Health. Once the Oval gives us word, we will start preparing for the start of the winter hockey season and need about 30 days to finalize everything.

The good news is though, now you have more time to get organized! We have pushed the deadlines for tentative season start and bringing your invoice to zero to September 15th, 2020. The same date applies to the pay early credit deadline. These deadlines is the best info we have as of right now and they may change depending on what we find out from the Oval.

As far as the winter season goes, we are still planning to play 5 on 5 hockey. Stay tuned, more info will be coming in the next week or two about how the season will be structured but all indications point to hockey being as normal as possible under the circumstances.

The other good news are, you can still register your team to play with us this winter season. We will keep the registration open until we have to start building the schedule.

The NCHL – A Better Way To Play!