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CANCELED: Mountain and Front Range State Tournament

By WACH Board, 03/13/20, 12:15PM MDT

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Update: The end of season tournament has been canceled.

 

Dear WACH Teams,

The WACH Board spent the last couple days gathering information on how to best support the health and wellness of our members.  We have been communicating about the COVID-19 developments just about every single day, and wondering how to honor the hard work that teams have put in working toward a special season-end event and balancing that with the health of our players.

Having Governor Jared Polis declare Colorado as being “in a state of emergency in response to COVID-19” was surprising to many since the actual numbers were fairly low.  However, the locations of these affected individuals and the potential for a larger scale outbreak was one of the many factors the WACH Board considered. Today we gathered the most recent information from the CDC, the El Paso County Health Department, law enforcement, medical professionals and of course USA Hockey. 

The Health Department and law enforcement strongly urged against holding events of more than 200 people.  The CDC has very strict guidelines if you choose to proceed with a “large community event.” The guidelines would be very difficult to follow and include things like: developing an emergency operations plan, having ample COVID-19 prevention supplies including face masks on-site, having an isolation area for participants or staff showing symptoms, etc. The NHL mentioned the shared facility usage as a risk.  In a tournament situation, locker rooms are turned over quickly after sweaty players change without a full deep cleaning. Maintaining safety in this respect is worrisome because the virus can live on surfaces for an extended period of time, and could be potentially shared amongst players easily even if “social distancing” is practiced. USA Hockey is leaving the decision up to the local level, however they “encourage all involved to engage with local health and medical professionals, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization, in making educated decisions.”  When asked point blank, a USA Hockey representative said, “Let me put it this way, if this tournament were being hosted by USA Hockey, we would definitely cancel it.” 

Additionally, many concerns have been shared from WACH members regarding the upcoming tournament.  Players with family members that have compromised immune systems (or players themselves) are concerned about not only contracting the virus, but spreading it to their communities and those that they love. The WACH Board weighed this information carefully before coming to a decision.  We can’t know when this pandemic will subside and when large group community events will resume.  

Though the BCD Front Range tournament is just over a month away, we are going to postpone it until further information is available.  The rinks and referees have all been very understanding as they are having many events cancelled for safety reasons in response to COVID-19.  Deposits made for the BCD Front Range Tournament will be held for now with the hope of rescheduling the event in the future. The Town of Breckenridge has cancelled many events, and though we are considering the Mountain Tournament a postponement, it may be a cancellation as trying to coordinate another weekend in the future is not likely to happen.  Therefore the payment checks for the mountain division will be destroyed. In terms of regularly scheduled remaining league games, they will proceed as usual when possible. We are basing this decision on actions of other local adult hockey entities as long as facilities are open. We urge players to follow COVID-19 precautions related to proper handwashing, gloves-on handshake line, self-isolate if players are sick, etc.  If a team would like to discuss concerns about playing league games, please reach out to the WACH Board.

We are hopeful that this pandemic will resolve and we can get to work rescheduling the State Tournament.  The WACH Board wants to make sure all members know how much deliberation was put into this decision.

Thank you,
WACH Board