Minor hockey planning begins

George Burnett atom rep's Gavin Balazs, the Tornadoes' leading scorer, was named to the 2020 North American Silver Stick Atom A Finals all star team, and awarded Most Outstanding Atom hockey player of the tournament. Rick Schroeter photo

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With plans being made to ‘Return to Hockey’, Tillsonburg Minor Hockey recently held its annual awards ceremony.

The 2019-20 TMHI year-end ceremony, typically held at the Tillsonburg Community Centre in the spring, was presented as an online slide-show on Aug. 5, and shared on the TMHI website (tmhi.org).

“I have seen a number of positive comments on how it was all put together,” said association president Steve Gradish. “A big thanks to Corinne Cvitkovic for putting the presentation together and to Ashley Edwards for all of her work to collect and tabulate all of the voting through this new virtual world.”

TMHI’s Annual General Meeting was also held online that same night.

“The AGM was well attended through the virtual platform,” said Gradish, who noted not all of the vacant positions were filled at the meeting. “The current board of directors are extremely committed to doing everything we can to provide a version of hockey for the youth of Tillsonburg and surrounding area.”

At its first regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 18, one of the biggest challenges was passing a budget without clear direction on what the 2020-21 season will look like in its entirety, and how long OMHA’s ‘Return to Hockey’ can be sustained under current restrictions.

“We have been given some direction by the OMHA on what we must do prior to any start up,” said Gradish.

To get started on Oct. 1, Gradish said TMHI would need teams of nine skaters, plus goalies, playing in 50-player bubbles within the their own TMHI centre.

“There is a possibility of some travel within our local (Southwestern) Public Health authority, but this has to be approved in the TMHI Return to Hockey Plan,” said Gradish. “This Plan is currently being finalized and will be submitted to OMHA for their review and approval.”

The OMHA website (omha.net/covid-19) shows the various stages, sub-stages, and phases.

Modified Programming in Stage 3 allows associations to begin ‘Return to Ice’ from August 15-31 in approved geographic areas, with individual and group training, followed by ‘Return to Practice’ and ‘Return to Play’, which includes registration and ‘internal events’ with on-ice physical distancing, then games of 3v3 or 4v4 with no physical contact with physical distancing continuing at practices.

cabbott@postmedia.com

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