The good old hockey game might look a bit different in Napanee this autumn and winter, but minor hockey players can rest assure there will get to play some puck.
Both the Napanee Crunch and Napanee Stars executive boards are currently putting together a modified program for the upcoming season.
Registration for the Crunch is now open, though it’s limited to just girls who played with the Napanee program last year.
Online registration can be done at http://napaneecrunch.ca/content/registration.
“At this point, right now as it looks for September, there is not going to be any type of league play,” said Janet Pringle, president of the Napanee Crunch Female Hockey Association. “Our goal is to just get whoever is wanting to get back out on the ice, to start it’s going to be one hour, per grouping.”
Players will be limited to groups of 18 based on their age. Pringle hopes at some point they’ll be able to welcome new players or others who played in other centres last year, but for now only returning players are eligible to play with the Crunch.
“September is just going to be get back to the ice and sort of skills and development sessions,” said Pringle. “And then we’re hoping at this stages progress we’re going to be allowed to go to 3-on-3 play, then 4-on-4 and eventually 5-on-5.”
There’s been no word yet on whether or not they’ll be able to travel to other centres to take on other teams. For now, they’ll just focus on skills development.
The Crunch were just getting playoffs underway before play was halted in March.
“We had a lot of teams heading to playoffs that were doing very very well,” said Pringle. “It was heartbreaking to see. Now, for example my oldest daughter, this is going to be her last year. For her last year to not be competitive, it’s a harsh reality. But a month ago I didn’t even know if we would see them on the ice. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s a way to safely get them back on the ice and hopefully if protocols are followed we should start to see some type of small games happening and get back to some type of normalcy because these girls miss the camaraderie, they miss playing, they miss their teammates.”
As for the Stars, they aren’t taking registration just yet but they are seeking feedback from players and parents.
“The OMHA hasn’t given us the green light to open registration,” said Napanee District Minor Hockey Association president Kevin Dorey. “What we’ve done is we’ve put a survey on our website. The survey is trying to get an idea of interest in hockey and I’m pretty certain there’s a huge interest. The trick is we don’t exactly know what the programming is going to look like. If we have some rough numbers with this survey then we can start planning.”
The survey can be found at NDMHA.ca.
Just like the girls, its unknown whether the Stars will be travelling to other towns to face-off against opponents from outside of Napanee.
“The kids just want to get on the ice, they want to have fun and do their thing,” said Dorey. “If that’s three-on-three cross-ice scrimmage, then so be it. They’ll be happy and having fun.”