January 14, 2021
To the Members of our Michigan Hockey Community:
On the afternoon of Wednesday, January 13th, 2021 Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a new extension of the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) Epidemic Order, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The extended pause will take place from Saturday, January 16th through Sunday, January 31st.
As a supplement to the January 13th, 2021 Epidemic Order, the MDHHS has also provided a FAQ document to answer very specific questions pertaining to this extension.
Hockey is one of several sports, categorized by the MDHHS, as a “contact sport.” With this in mind, there are some notable revisions that directly impact our hockey activity. Given the parameters summarized in this order, and because hockey is categorized by the MDHHS as one of several “contact sports,” the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) gives the following guidance to our local program members:
1) Starting Saturday, January 16th, on-ice practices / conditioning sessions are permitted provided that contact does not occur between players. Occupancy must be limited to 4 persons per 1,000 square feet of exercise space (approximately 68 people on the ice at once). Spectators are allowed as long as they do not exceed 25% of the total occupancy limits, established by the State or local fire marshal. Social distancing (6 feet or more) must be maintained at all times. Facial coverings are required at all times in the rink, both on-ice and off-ice. Practices with contact, scrimmages, and competition are NOT permitted. (NOTE: Local governments may impose more stringent restrictions, based on local conditions)
2) Games and scrimmages remain prohibited for the duration of the January 13th, 2021 Epidemic Order. As a result, games, scrimmages and tournaments will not be sanctioned in Michigan during this time period. (This includes two MAHA teams traveling out-of-state in order to fulfill a game or scrimmage.) Please note that any 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.
3) The MAHA does not encourage, or recommend, out-of-state travel during this period. As a “sports organizer,” as defined under the Epidemic Order, the MAHA is not able to participate in any such gatherings in any matter. During the extended pause in activity, as required under the January 13th, 2021 Epidemic Order, our Interstate Travel Notification Form will be suspended for use. Furthermore, the MAHA continues to caution local associations and teams that they may be defined as a “sports organizer,” and subject to penalties under this Epidemic Order, should they organize competition of any kind during this period. Association Boards, Coaches & Managers are also potentially increasing their liability, if they continue to organize competition during this time.
4) As indicated in Section 7(f) of the January 13th, 2021 Epidemic Order, participants in gatherings for any exercise activities, group fitness, or organized sports must comply with face mask requirements listed in the Interim Guidance for Athletics. Please note that the CDC does not recommend use of face shields as a substitute for cloth face masks. However, a face shield that covers the eyes, nose and mouth can be worn in addition to a cloth face mask, if desired.
The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association remains optimistic that these efforts will lead to additional restrictions being lifted, and our return to hockey activity will be forthcoming. As always, we appreciate your patience and support!