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MAHA Addresses Out-of-State Travel - November 18th, 2020

By MAHA, 11/18/20, 1:45PM EST



November 18th, 2020 

In anticipation of the three-week ‘pause’ in hockey activity in Michigan (beginning November 18th), many questions have been raised regarding out-of-state travel arrangements made by teams over the next few weeks.

The primary focus of the November 15, 2020 Emergency Order from MDHHS Director Gordon is to restrict group gatherings within the State of Michigan. This includes in-state gatherings for the purposes of organized sports, although is not intended to place restrictions on out-of-state travel. However, it is clear that the intent is to put into effect more forceful mitigation techniques to reduce the spread of the virus.

The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association does not encourage, or recommend, out-of-state travel during this period. As a “sports organizer,” as defined under the Emergency Order, MAHA is not able to participate in any such gatherings in any matter. During the pause in activity, required under the November 15th, 2020 Emergency Order, our required Interstate Travel Notification Form will be suspended for use.

We also caution local associations and teams that you may be defined as a “sports organizer,” and subject to penalties under this Emergency Order, should you organize gatherings of any kind during this period. Association Boards, Coaches & Managers are also potentially increasing their liability, if they continue to organize participation during this time. Our young participants are learning how to handle characteristics of this pandemic through watching the adults in their lives. Please set an example by following the intent of the Emergency Order.

Please be aware that local associations or teams, that are discovered to be engaging in unsanctioned activity during the pause, will be in violation of its organization’s Affiliate Agreement and subject to disciplinary action.

The MAHA does realize that certain teams may have committed to travel out-of-state prior to this Emergency Order, and that certain commitments may be non-refundable. The MAHA encourages all teams with out-of-state travel plans to explore cancellation and potential refunding options, in an effort to support the suppression of COVID-19 exposure.

If these options are unavailable, the MAHA implores you to proceed with caution and heightened awareness in carrying out your travel commitments. Regardless of the limitations contained in the November 15, 2020 Emergency Order, we expect that teams will abide by the following when traveling out-of-state:

1) Teams are expected to maintain heightened awareness of the evolving circumstances, pertaining to state government guidelines and restrictions, in any market they intend to travel to. Much like Michigan, the recent surge in COVID-19 cases is leading to frequently-changing mitigation strategies throughout the country. As a result, be aware that your out-of-state activities are subject to change.

2) Teams are required to adhere to all local and state government guidelines, imposed upon their travel destination. It is the responsibility of the team to identify those guidelines and proceeding accordingly. Furthermore, please continue to be mindful of group gatherings outside of the rink, and practice risk mitigation strategies out-of-state, as well as in-state.

3) All teams and associations should be mindful that the ongoing spread of COVID-19, throughout the State of Michigan, may result in varying degrees of discomfort for families in your organization. We expect that all teams and associations respect the wishes of any families who choose not to follow through with scheduled team activities and/or travel accommodations. Given the evolving circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, your participants and families should not be subject to undue influence.

This is a difficult time for our collective membership throughout Michigan. We certainly hoped that a disruption in our season wouldn’t occur. However, if we all make a commitment to compliance during these pause in activity, we collectively improve our chances of making a timely return to the 2020-21 season.

We thank you for your cooperation and support and look forward to resuming our hockey activities soon!