Langley City’s Twin Rinks is one of the Lower Mainland sites where Adult Safe Hockey League adult hockey has resumed for the modified fall season. (Canlan Ice Sports Corp. Facebook)

Langley City’s Twin Rinks is one of the Lower Mainland sites where Adult Safe Hockey League adult hockey has resumed for the modified fall season. (Canlan Ice Sports Corp. Facebook)

Beer league hockey starts fall season at rinks in Langley, Burnaby and the North Shore

New rules are meant to minimize unintentional contact, including new ways to do face offs

Beer league hockey resumed at rinks in Langley City, Burnaby and the North Shore this week.

The Adult Safe Hockey League (ASHL) has announced a modified fall season with games.

“The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has unveiled a new series of guidelines for sport that allow gameplay to resume,” the league said in a statement.

The rinks are operated by Canlan Ice Sports Corp. which has submitted a plan to the province and received approval to have modified five-on-five games.

“Canlan Ice Sports also has a plan for all locations in the Lower Mainland to identify and reduce risk, manage any exposure, and outline the cleaning and safety measures in place at our locations,” the league said.

The local rink hosted summer leagues under modified rules that remain in place for the fall season. The league is also taking registration for the winter season starting in early 2021.

“The style of the game has definitely seen less intensity with the new rules as there’s less penalties, more natural space on the ice, and the majority of our players have embraced this new format as the way the game needs to be in order to prioritize safety in this environment,” said Scott Campbell, the Canlan Ice Sports Corp. director of leagues.

The five-on-five format has been designed to minimize incidental contact. The plan recommends players limit the sports cohorts to which they belong.

Players can arrive no earlier than 20 minutes before the start of their games and are asked to not congregate prior to entering the building. There is an online COVID-19 questionnaire anyone going to the rinks is expected to complete on the day they visit.

People must wear masks at all times except while on the players bench or during game play. That includes wearing masks in dressing rooms.

Players are asked to leave the rink promptly when games are done.

Action may have resumed on the ice but there will be no fans in the stands.

“Our Exposure Control Plan does not permit spectators in the building for our adult activities at this point,” said Campbell.

There’s no option to use technology as a replacement to sitting in the stands.

“At this time we unfortunately don’t have the ability to watch games online in the Lower Mainland,” he said. “It’s been on the radar for us for a while as we’ve had a number of conversations with prospective video partners, but the timing did not align for us with the pandemic to make it a reality yet. We’re hoping to make some headway on that into 2021, though.”

New rules:

▪ Location Rules: Please be advised that Provincial guidelines may determine the number of participants that can be present at a game, as well as other potential variances in structure from location-to-location.

▪ Division Rules: Where applicable, division specific rules will continue to apply (e.g. 30+, 40+ age restrictions; limits on the number of goals scored in Coed, etc.). League Managers at each location will be able to provide specific details pertaining to these divisions.

▪ Water Bottles: Participants will be required to have an individual water bottle while at the arena, keeping it on a designated spot on the bench.

▪ Spitting: Given our current circumstances, spitting will be prohibited at any time while in the facility. Violators will be issued one (1) warning before being asked to leave the facility, should a second offense occur. So yeah, don’t spit!

▪ Gloves: Participants will be required to wear gloves on the ice at all times. In the event of a lost glove, that player will be required to retrieve their glove immediately from the ice.

▪ Switching Ends/Line Changes: Teams will defend the same goal for the entire duration of the game. Line changes will be permitted either on the fly or after play has been blown down by a whistle.

▪ Handshakes: Until further notice, handshakes and first-bumps shall not occur before, during, or after the game.

▪ Game Time (Ties + Delays): Due to time constraints associated with the number of participants on a rink, any games that will not be possible to be completed within the allotted ice-time may have the game clock reduced in order to ensure the game ends at its appropriate time.

▪ The New Offside: We’re introducing the hybrid offside to create larger attacking zones while retaining the neutral zone for transition and stretch passes. How does it work? In order to gain the attacking zone, the blue-line remains as the line of entry for the purposes of the offside rule.

Once the line has been gained and possession has been established, the red line now becomes the clearance line. Until the defending team clears the puck past the red line, the puck remains in the attacking zone.

▪ Face-off Adjustments: All face-offs will take place at one of the four (4) face-off dots located closest to the crease, or the centre-ice face-off dot in the case of the start of a period, goal scored, offside, or any other need for a neutral zone face-off. None of the four dots adjacent to the blue-line will be used at this time.

Any of the players not taking the face-off will need to line up at least two (2) metres apart, outside of the face-off circle. No player shall be permitted to enter the face-off circle until the puck has left the circle.

Furthermore, the two (2) participants taking the face-off will only permitted to use their stick to gain possession of the puck, or direct it out of the face-off circle

In the event of any encroachment by players into the face-off circle, or a scenario where the centre uses any other part of their body to direct the puck, the play shall be blown down and the face-off will subsequently be re-done. In the event of continued breaches, the referee shall be permitted to issue a discretionary delay of game penalty.

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