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Updates on the "Return to Play"

By DHA Board, 07/29/20, 8:15AM CDT


Hello Families:

We know everyone misses hockey and we do too! We can't wait to get back to the rink. While we are still waiting for the governor to allow skating rinks to open we wanted to update you on exactly where we stand as an association. 

Legally, all skating rinks — public and private — are currently closed per the executive orders of Governor Whitmer. But we know there are a lot of questions and a lot of social media posts going around that make it seem otherwise.

Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) is the governing body of youth hockey in Michigan. They conducted a series of meetings and workgroups earlier this summer about the current state of hockey and plans to re-start playing once rinks are allowed to open. We had sent this in an earlier email, but in case you missed it, here is the link: MAHA 'Return to the Game' Plan.

They also just sent an update to this information on July 27th.

The DHA cannot hold or support any of the listed activities because it breaks state law as well as MAHA regulations. But we know you have questions and would like to answer some of them.

So what would happen if your child goes to one of these skates/trainings? 

We know that parents are making difficult choices every day about their children and their families during Covid-19, so we want to let you know a few things regarding hockey as it currently is (or isn't.)

The first is liability. We say this not to scare you, but to inform you. Every DHA player has to sign up for a USA Hockey membership to play DHA hockey and to be a MAHA registered player. Most of what your money goes to for a USA Hockey registration is INSURANCE. So we want to let you know that if your child does skate while MAHA and the state of Michigan prohibit these activities, that they do so without USA Hockey insurance coverage. 

Second is safety in the facilities. We don't know what precautions or steps are being taken to ensure healthy and safety. If you want to know what Hockey will most likely look like, please take a look at the MAHA 'Return to the Game' Plan. 

What could happen punishment-wise to my kid if they skate?

It's hard to say, but we do know that MAHA is most concerned with ensuring there is a level playing field for everyone. A lot of these skates are focused on TIER I and TIER II (AAA and Travel) teams. That said, MAHA has repeatedly emailed the DHA board to remind us of the prohibition and to warn that coaches, teams, and associations could face punishment.  

When will the DHA start back up again? When could we see the ice?

The truth is we don't know. We can only guess. What we do know is the timeline. As soon as the state allows rinks to open, the city has committed that the DISC will be able to open and begin putting ice in. There is a timeline laid out in the return to play document that we won't rehash here as it is a bit long, but we will be ready. 

Why is the DHA following the rules when other teams and clubs aren't?

As an association that is focused on player development, ensuring every kid who wants to play hockey has an opportunity, and making sure that our association is known for its integrity and dedication to the principles that represent the mission of our organization we have to wait until given clearance to do anything. We are committed to adhering to the rules in place. 

What can I do to help prepare my player for a return to the ice?

The best thing, from a hockey perspective, is to ensure they are staying healthy and staying active. Hockey players need to develop as total athletes, and this current situation is a great excuse to cross-train. But we do know that some kids are ready to do hockey-specific things to improve while they have more time on their hands. While we believe that "breaks" from sports - even primary ones, are good, we know we are approaching the traditional start of "hockey time."

So, as we move forward we will be communicating more frequently and providing things that the kids can do while we hopefully get closer to a return to the ice.  

​We know this time isn't easy for anyone. We know that our kids thrive on athletics and it is important for their personal, emotional, and cognitive development. Many of our coaches have safely seen or talked to one another over the break and have been brainstorming about how to best return to the success and growth we saw last year. We want the best for our kids both ON and OFF the ice. 

If you have any questions please contact any of the following people and they can explain more about the current situation or what things look like moving forward. ​

Kevin Bolger

Jeff Lesperance

Joe Koss