NJSIAA: Sports Return-to-Play Amid Pandemic, Ice Hockey

High school sports activities have taken a big hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  With the recent spike in the number of COVD cases statewide, Governor Phil Murphy, as you are aware, has reinstated more strict regulations when it comes to indoor sports activities and practices for high school athletics.

His Executive Order 204, which went in effect on Saturday, suspended all indoor practices and competitions in all sports at the high school level.  In response, the NJSIAA Sports Advisory Task Force announced the following modifications to the high school ice hockey season, which pertain to several Hudson County high school hockey teams, including the Bayonne Bees:

• Competition may start on Friday, January 15, 2021                                                       • The season will be extended to Saturday, March 6, 2021                                              • Any student-athlete that is subject to a transfer sit-period will be eligible for participation on Monday, February 1, 2021.

The practice start date, Monday, December 14, 2020, remains unchanged. Starting on this date, virtual contact or outdoor practices will be permitted. Indoor practices may begin on Sunday, January 3, 2021, unless Executive Order 204 is further modified prior to this date. As a reminder, competition cannot start until a team has completed six days of practice and one day of rest. School’s may participate in one scrimmage after six days of practice and one day of rest at their discretion. Please be reminded that virtual practices do not count towards the six days of practice and one day of rest requirement.

There are no other changes to the ice hockey season as described in the November 19, 2020 Return-to-Play Plan memo. For instance, competition will be limited to three events per week, with a total maximum of 15 events during the season. The maximum number of events will include any league or conference tournaments, and teams may only compete in one event per day. There will be no NJSIAA sponsored postseason. Multi-team events and out of state competition will be prohibited.

Lastly, there are no changes to the skiing season. Executive Order 204 does not prohibit outdoor practices or competition. Therefore, the practice start date, Monday, December 14, 2020, remains unchanged. Competition may begin Monday, January 4, 2021 and the season will end on Wednesday, February 17, 2021. NJSIAA will continue to monitor the Governor’s and the Department of Health’s orders and will update its member schools as necessary.

Colleen Maguire noted: “NJSIAA will continue to find creative ways for our students to safety participate in interscholastic athletics.  During our fall season, NJSIAA member schools successfully engaged approximately 80,000 student-athletes across five sports. We hope to find similar success this winter.”