London smaller hockey gamers, coaches in want of COVID vaccine: officers

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Norman De Bono, Ryan Pyette

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August 28, 20214 hours agoRead for 2 minutes 6 comments Cody Hale celebrates after teammate Ben Vreugdenhil gave the West London Hawks a 3-0 lead over the Oakridge Eros at Stronach Arena in this LFP archive photo dated Friday 06 January 2012.  DEREK RUTTAN / The London Free Press Cody Hale celebrates after teammate Ben Vreugdenhil gave the West London Hawks a 3-0 lead over the Oakridge Eros at Stronach Arena in this LFP archive photo dated Friday 06 January 2012. DEREK RUTTAN / The London Free Press

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London hockey players who want to get a shot this season must get one first.

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Just as the local health authorities are issuing new guidelines for youth sports, the Greater London Hockey Association urges all players 12 years and older to fully vaccinate coaches and officials against COVID-19 before they go on the ice, said Justin Hoffer, chairman of Greater London Hockey Association.

“(We) require vaccines for all eligible participants. You must be fully vaccinated, ”he said.

This edict applies to all players aged 12 and over as well as to coaches, coaches and “other participants”, he added.

That ruling follows a statement by the Middlesex-London Health Unit on Friday saying that it is “strongly recommended” for all amateur athletes to get a full vaccination. It also wants everyone involved to be masked when they are not playing, including in locker rooms, and for everyone to be checked out before every practice or game, said Dr. Alex Summers, the assistant health unit commanding officer, in a statement.

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For underage hockey players aged 12 and over, they must be fully vaccinated by October 31st – that is, the first dose would have to be taken before September 23rd.

“The start dates are not affected. We have set the start dates for September 23, when our program officially begins, ”said Hoffer. “We cover many different ages and levels of ice hockey. The Middlesex-London Health Unit, which published some of their recommendations, was part of it.

“We are the first organization within the Alliance (an administrative agency in all of southwestern Ontario) to commission them. The Greater Toronto Hockey League has commissioned this. There has been a lot of discussion about it.

“We want to protect the players as well as possible and make sure that everyone involved is as safe as possible. It’s another piece of the security puzzle. “

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The Greater London Hockey Association oversees the city’s four largest smaller hockey clubs – the West London Hawks, Oakridge Eros, North London Nationals and London Bandits – and the London Junior Mustangs. It is believed that the elite London Jr. Knights are also considering making the vaccine mandatory.

It is unclear what the health department’s guidelines will mean for seasons of hockey players too young for available COVID-19 vaccines. In the statement, Dr. Summers:

  • Mandatory vaccinations for all beneficiaries
  • Make sure you wear masks off the field of play
  • Symptom screening before each game
  • “Urgently consider reducing or stopping play between leagues or teams and focusing on practices and scrimmages.”
  • Form cohorts no larger than 12-15 players

Dr. Summers also noted, “When all participants in a team or a league are fully vaccinated, it is reasonable for the cohorts to grow and the game between teams to continue.”

This would be the third season of COVID-19-affected smaller ice hockey, which triggered a lockdown in March 2020 and interrupted the playoffs for thousands of local youth players. Last season was almost completely sunk.

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