Dear BYHC Families,
Thank you to all those who were able to submit responses to our recent survey. Your thoughtful comments have been invaluable as we try to plan for the reopening of rinks and a return to hockey. Over the last few months, members of our Board have regularly been involved with meetings of PVAHA and CBHL, in an effort to keep informed regarding timelines and standards for reopening, as well as the structure for games and league play for the upcoming season. Additionally, the Baltimore Youth Hockey Board has met regularly in an effort to formulate plans for safely getting our athletes back on the ice.
While the league's governing organizations are unable to define the parameters under which hockey will resume play come September, they have issued guidance for the purposes of rostering players with or without tryouts. On June 22nd, PVAHA announced the following rules for rostering players:
Clubs have been given the option to roster players with or without tryouts.
Given the ever-evolving status of the pandemic, it was not surprising that the governing bodies provided little warning to clubs about this approach, which impacts BYHC given one of our rinks is closed due to renovations, and the other has opened with severely restricted capacity on ice. But we are not alone. Nearly every club in the region is in the same situation with home rinks that are not open/operational on a “normal” level. We are working closely with both Reisterstown and Baltimore City Rec and Parks in an effort to coordinate ice slots dedicated to Baltimore Youth Hockey for the purposes of holding tryouts.
At this time, Mount Pleasant is not expected to open until the first week of September. Our contract with Reisterstown entitles us to utilize one week of unspecified ice time during the summer months (originally intended for summer skills sessions). However, Reisterstown is only operating at this time with limited numbers on ice as they continue to adapt to local guidelines to keep their participants safe. We continue to work closely with rink management to secure tryout ice and will provide additional information as details are confirmed. Our first priority in all of this is the safety and health security of our players and families. We will not be forced into acting in a way that endangers our young hockey player and their parents.
As a result of these circumstances, BYHC is taking an approach that is similar to several other clubs and is planning to fill rosters without the benefit of on-ice tryouts. As ice becomes available and in line with state and local health department guidelines and restrictions, we will conduct additional on-ice evaluations/tryouts to fill open roster positions to refine our rosters and offer additional spots to willing and capable players.
So, what does this mean, and what should you expect over the coming weeks?
Why are we doing it this way?
Unfortunately, the USAH regional and local authorities are left with no other option to offer local clubs. Tryouts normally occur in late April and it is obvious that access to ice remained unavailable since the original quarantine and state of emergency declaration. As mentioned above, we are in the same situation as nearly every other club in the immediate area. BYHC’s first priority is to provide roster spots to returning players before opening up registration to new players and we are confident that we will find a home for every player - returning and new-to-BYHC. This process allows us to achieve that goal.
Will my player have an opportunity to “move up” if not placed on the top team?
We are anticipating the opportunity to re-evaluate some players/rosters later in the summer or early fall. We cannot offer any guarantees, so we simply ask that we all understand the complexities of operating during a global pandemic and the associated difficulties that confront all of us at this time.
What will the season look like?
Honestly, nobody knows. Some in the hockey community might tell you something different, but we are going to be transparent. Practices may be shorter; fewer games may be played; tournaments may not be permitted; interstate travel may be limited; family access to games and rink facilities may be limited or prohibited, etc. These are all options that have been presented by USAH and local authorities. In fact, during the CBHL and PVAHA discussions in the past week the simple answer provided was “We just don’t know at this point.” That seems to be the most honest answer anyone could offer, and we will honor it as well. Any other club or association that suggests otherwise is suspect.
What will it cost?
A fee of $75 will be due at the time of registration and will enable your player to be rostered on a team on July 29th. With respect to the full season fee, we cannot answer that at this time. Prior to the pandemic, the Board had approved the fees for this season-however, the season could look quite different than a normal year. As such, the initial installment for the season fee (after accepting a roster spot) will be reduced to $250 (versus the typical Pay in full or installment plan in prior years). Final decisions on full season fees will be made once more guidance is provided by USAH, PVAHA, and the CBHL. At that point, the Board will set the appropriate fee for the season.
Who are selecting rosters?
The BYHC Hockey Directors (with input from prior season coaches):
What about 8U / Mites?
We will open registration for Mites and Rec Hockey August 1st, and more information will be provided as we get closer to that date.
It is important we all remain flexible during these unprecedented times. While we cannot make any commitments as to how the season will look compared to prior year’s, we will work diligently to provide your player the best experience possible within the guidelines provided and safety decisions deemed necessary by the BYHC Board. We appreciate your understanding and willingness to adjust to an unconventional approach at this time.
Thank you and stay safe.
The members of the Baltimore Youth Hockey Club Board of Directors