Hockey Alberta has updated its season plan for all minor hockey associations to accelerate the return to full 5-on-5 play. In response to this, Hockey Edmonton has updated its Return to Play Guidelines on September 25, 2020. Originally, the plan was to return to full play when Alberta Health Services increased the allowable size of sports cohorts, currently at 50 people. It has now been determined that we will move to full 5-on-5 play in about a month’s time, even if the cohort level remains unchanged.

SWZ will continue with the plan to form cohorts of three to four mini teams to play a modified 4-on-4 or 3-on-3 hockey for the next few weeks. We will then form full roster teams and tier them under the Alberta One Tiering Model. These teams will practice in isolation for a period of two weeks. At that point, teams will enter into a tiering round where they will play within a “pod” of teams. The pod is essentially a cohort of its own, that may have two or three teams. Teams would play a short series of games, then go into a minimum 14-day isolation where they will only practice. At the end of that period, they will enter a new pod and play new teams. The process will then repeat. If allowable cohort/pod sizes are increased, more teams would be assigned to each pod. If the cohort limit is removed, we will return to a regular-season schedule. Our Comets and Recreational programs will operate with some differences from the above.

The proposed timeline for the formation of full teams and practices is as follows:
• U9, U11, & U13 – October 23, 2020
• U15, & U18 – October 30, 2020
The proposed timeline for the commencement of the full play tiering round:
• U9, U11, & U13 – November 7, 2020
• U15, & U18 – November 14, 2020
We appreciate this change will create some confusion and a lot of additional work for our volunteers. We thank them for their hard work, and you for your understanding as we work at getting our kids back to as normal a hockey season as we can.

Darren Buma
SWZ President