Hockey is back! Conditioning camps are finishing and the 2020-21 hockey season starts NEXT WEEK!

The KC South cooperative (KC West, KC SouthWest and the Knights) are happy to welcome back our families for a groundbreaking first season of collaboration. This season is going to have a different feel, but the players are back on the ice, the fans are in the stands and the coaches are ready to improve the skills of all our superstars!

With September approaching, families may have some questions surrounding what minor hockey will look like this fall.  KC South has been doing a lot of planning in the background with a number of possible scenarios that we may need to face.

Since March, our kids have spent a lot of time on iPads. Well, get their skates sharpened because there is a lot of icetime coming up in September and October! We’re planning 6 stages in our return to play plan for our players

1. Conditioning drills (September 1-8)
2. Time Trials (September 9-12)
3. Judged Drills (September 12/13)
4. Group Evaluation (September 16-27)
5. Team Practices (September 27-October 31)
6. Inter-Squad Games (early October-October 31)

Until a return to regular season is available, minor hockey associations will operate in the Development Phase.  The key elements of this phase are as follows:

  • We will form teams that compete in competitive play, as long as they limit their practice and play to a cohort of no more than 50 people (including players and coaches).  Hockey Edmonton is being pushed to have this increased to 60 but for now we are planning for 50.
  • “Teams” are to remain small to facilitate social distancing where possible (bench, change rooms, etc).  Teams will likely consist of 10 to 12 players/skaters +1 goalie.  This would allow for three or four teams to be able to play within a cohort.
    • PLEASE NOTE: These “teams” will NOT be final teams for the season.  They are temporary groupings of like skilled players to allow for competitive inter-squad games within a cohort.)
  • These teams will be planned to be grouped in 3-4 levels and KC South will be collaborating with other KC Associations for inter-squad game play (most likely in a 4vs4 or 3vs3 setup).
  • On-ice officials will not be available during the development phase, but games can be played with coaches on the ice.
  • The format of play may shift to a more flow style where there is no stoppage of play for off-sides and icings.  Penalties would result in penalty shots in order to eliminate the interaction of players and off-ice officials.  Coaches could be tasked with officiating the games.
  • With the smaller number of players rostered, game play may be adjusted from 5vs5, 4vs4, or 3vs3 depending on the number of available players.
  • These changes should result in a significant increase in ice-time and skill development for all players.

For reference, we will be following the Hockey Edmonton and Hockey Alberta Return to Play Guidelines:

These guidelines are subject to change at any time as Alberta Health Services and Hockey Alberta respond to COVID-19 conditions throughout the province. New directives are expected very shortly, however, our planning, and the focus of this communication is around the currently available guidance for the Development phase.

Next Stages: Modified Competition Season (no earlier than November 1)

Hockey Edmonton is working on two different possibilities in the modified competitive season stage:

  • Bubble/Pods groupings
    • Cohorting bubbles (North Edmonton, South Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St.
      Albert, etc) and having competitive games with referees.
  • Showcase weekends
    • Local tournaments being held over weekends, where teams will play 3-5 games with a large group of teams and then return for 2 weeks of practices. Multiple tournaments give the opportunity to move up and down tiers between tournaments. Practices will be held during the weekdays, games every third weekend from November to March.

We thank you for your understanding that things will be done differently this year. Our coaches will find creative ways to keep the players engaged but we have to stay positive that they are back playing the sport they love, in a safe and fun environment.

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