President's Update - August 18th, 2020

I hope this update finds all are well...I thought a quick update for our Senior hockey community is in order as we all try and get ready for another hockey season....our 55th season.

QVHL merger....Let me update you on the possible merger with QVHL. All teams appear to be positive about the interlocking schedule we had last year. We have had plenty of conversation with QVHL since hockey abruptly stopped on March 12th and at this point we have made a committment to either go towards a merger or continue as we did last year by early September. We will update as soon as a decision is made.

Regarding COVID-19...We have communicated with our teams about the 2020/2021 season with all the information we have from the SHA. We are following whatever the rules will be for the resumption of hockey. At this point, as per the memo recently sent out by the SHA, we can plan and form our teams and can practice with paperwork when the time comes. As far as the structure of how things will look come November we just aren't there yet. We will follow the guidelines that will be set up by the SHA through their consultation with health officials. The bigger question right now is the rules that will be in place for each community rink. Those rules are not in place right now at all rinks. It is possible that these rinks will have different rules but our local teams will make sure they are consulted before the season starts. The next question is financial. If we can't have fans in the stands or are limited this puts us in a difficult situation. Teams are dependent on gate receipts, especially as the year ends and there are playoffs and Provincials. Teams are typically financed with sponsorship and gate receipts along with 50/50's. At this point I don't know what the response will be for sponsorship. Some businesses may not be able to sponsor this year with the conditions they are dealing with. If we are limited in fan support the thought was to have a league 50/50 that fans could participate in. The problem with this idea is that I am told by the SLGA that unless the hockey is for "youth" or 21 and under that we can't get a licence for this. As these are different times, and certainly 2020 is as different of year as we will ever see, we may have to go the political route to see if there can be an exemption if this funding has to come about to continue senior hockey. Other options may have to include limited hockey in the fall or just not starting until later in the year in hopes that conditions improve. Bottom line is making sure we have safe hockey for the players, for our fans and for our officials. If there is a possibility this can't be done then there won't be hockey.

There is still plenty of time until the season is scheduled to begin. I just wanted everyone to know that we are trying to stay on top of things and we will communicate everything we have as we go along. I will update here and on Twitter. If anyone has any questions or wants to add to my comments, please contact me. My email is listed under "teams" on our front page under "executive".

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Gerry Tomkins

President - Highway Hockey League