Return to Hockey – COVID Updates

RTPlogoOn March 13, 2020, Hockey Canada put a halt on minor hockey across the country to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Since then, Hockey Canada has allowed provincial hockey branches to work with local health authorities to determine the best return-to-play framework for their province.

The return to hockey in Ontario and across the GTHL will be done slowly and under the guidance of local health authorities. The frameworks and policies established will ensure players, parents, coaches, and volunteers are kept safe.


Latest News

From the Video Room

The GTHL will be posting regular video updates to address questions surrounding the return to hockey. This update was recorded by Peter Kourtis (General Manager) and Scott Oakman (Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer) on July 23, 2020.

Click here for past segments.


Return to Play Guidelines

OHF Return to Hockey Framework
The GTHL will be working alongside the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) and local health authorities to implement the above framework

Hockey Canada Safety Guidelines
Guidelines for all stakeholders to ensure hockey environments are safe for all involved

Hockey Canada FAQs
Frequently asked questions about return to play via Hockey Canada



(Added August 7) Q- What’s happening with coaching clinics for the 2020-21 season?
A→.Coaching clinics will not be held in person during the 2020-21 season. Hockey Canada and the OHF are currently working on a plan for training NEW coaches for this season. More information will be released in the coming weeks.

(Added August 4) Q- What needs to happen before the GTHL allows teams to get back on the ice?
A→ The GTHL is working on a plan which will outline what steps and precautions teams will need to take when activity in the GTHL is permitted. This plan will be released within the coming weeks and will act as a roadmap for return to play.

(Added August 4) Q- I have heard there is talk about not signing cards for the coming season.  Is that possible?
A→All players who wish to participate will have to register for the 2020-21. The process for registration and team selection will be announced with the GTHL Return to Play plan.

(Added August 4)Q-  Is Doug Ford going to be the person who decides when my son goes back on the ice?
A→The GTHL will be taking guidance from health care professionals as well as guidelines laid out by the Province as the League begins to return to play.

(Added August 4)  Q- My daughter has been told she can begin to play hockey, but my son can’t.  What is that all about?
A→The Ontario Women’s Hockey Federation (OWHA) has sanctioned activity for their players at this point in time and their players are allowed to participate in activities outlined by the OWHA. The GTHL continues to work on their plan for return to play.

(Added June 30) Q- I coached in the GTHL 2019-20 and want to run a session with 9 of my players from the same Club. Can I do this?
A→ The GTHL is currently not sanctioning activity. If you are a GTHL coach and possess private insurance,  then the Ontario Government Emergency Order no longer prevents you from offering training, provided it is within the government and health authority guidelines.

(Added June 30Q- What do I require to book ice and how many players can be on the ice at one time?
A→Facilities will be advising you what they require. Based on the current emergency order, a total of 9 players and 1 coach can be on the ice, or a total of 10 people.

(Added June 30) Q- Can I go out on the ice with my players if I’m a Licensed Hockey Canada Skills Instructor?
A→ Yes. This would give you insurance under Hockey Canada.

(Added June 30) Q – I was a coach for the Mississauga Terriers in 2019-20, can I go on the ice to train kids from different Clubs?
A→ You may only do this if you have private insurance. The GTHL is currently not sanctioning League activity.

(Added June 17) Q – I heard that coaches registered in 2019-20 season can go on the ice with players from their Club. Is this true?
On-ice activities conducted by Clubs and Organizations within the GTHL are currently NOT permitted. 

(Added May 7) Q- Would hockey be deferred/delayed until a vaccine is available and distributed to all?
A→ This will be a determination made by Federal and Provincial Authorities along with the Hockey Canada Board, Ontario Hockey Federation Board and the GTHL Board.  These decisions will all be guided by requirements and recommendations of the health authorities.

(Added May 7) Q- Does Hockey Canada or the OHF have a timeline for when they would make a go/no go decision on a September start?
No. It is something that is being monitored daily.  The start of hockey will be done in a planned, thoughtful way that takes into consideration the health and safety of all participants.

(Added May 7) Q- Could you address coaches who need to take the D1 coaching clinic which is not available online? What are the possible options as move into summer?
A → There are a number of alternatives to in-person certification currently being explored.  We understand that there will be a need for flexibility in many areas this season and we will make sure the start of the hockey season is not impeded by rigid application of regulations.

(Added May 7) Q- How will we handle GTHL player releases?  Are they with their old teams until tryouts?  With the timeline so tight for setting up teams, it would great if we could do releases without having to go through the GTHL for approval.
 Releases from the 2019-20 season will be automatic once tryouts begin. It will require no action on the part of Clubs.

(Added May 7) Q – When will players be released from old teams?
A→  The first day that tryouts begin.

(Added May 7) Q – Once arenas are open, will teams be allowed to go on the ice or book their training camps?
A→ Teams will not be allowed to go on the ice until tryouts are held.

(Added May 7) Q – Considering the financial strain placed on families by the loss of income and deferred payments, has the GTHL considered ways to make competitive hockey more affordable for the 20-21 season?
A  The GTHL has formed a working group comprised of Board, Club and staff representatives. This group will be looking at best practices that could be implemented to assist in lowering the expense to parents and families

Q- My daughter is on a team that has a chance at a GTHL championship.  I know that Hockey Canada has shut down hockey for the season, but I still hope that there might be a chance that hockey will go on, especially for playoff teams.  Is that possible?
A→No, hockey for this season is over.

Q- The Hockey Canada announcement uses the phrase “until further notice”.  What does that mean?
A→The 2019-20 season is cancelled. The Hockey Canada Board will decide when sanctioned hockey will resume in Canada.  We have no indication of when that will be.

Q- Does the cancellation of the season also mean our team can’t practice?
A→All practices are cancelled. 

Q- The Hockey Canada announcement also says that all “sanctioned activities” are to be shut down.  I’m new to this.  What does “sanctioned activities” mean?
A→Hockey Canada sanctioned activities include all games, playoffs, try-outs, practices, camps, team activities (that includes team parties and banquets), programs and Provincial, Regional, and National Championships.

Q- What does this mean for non-sanctioned hockey leagues?
A→Non-sanctioned leagues operate outside of Hockey Canada’s bylaws and regulations. If they continue to operate, they would be doing so of their own accord.

Q- Does this announcement impact all hockey participants in Canada?
A→No, it impacts participants who are registered through Hockey Canada and the Member Branch.  The GTHL is a member of Hockey Canada.

Q- How does this Hockey Canada announcement affect the FirstShift and other grassroots programming?
A→The Hockey Canada decision to cancel the remainder of the hockey season includes all grassroots programming.  The FirstShift program is included.

Q- Our team has a banquet coming up.  Is that cancelled?
A→The GTHL and Hockey Canada are doing their best to protect the safety of everyone involved in hockey.  Medical advice suggests that large gatherings of people is not a good idea at this time, so the banquet should not go ahead.

Q- So what about team parties?   The kids want to celebrate what they have achieved this season.  Can we do a gathering of less than 20 people?
A→No, all team activities are shut down.

Q- My coach says we should stay on the ice to prepare for tryouts.  Is that allowed?
A→All Hockey Canada activities, including team parties, practices and skates are not allowed.

 Q- It is March Break and some private  companies are still offering hockey camps.  Can I go?
A→Please be aware that most arenas operated by the cities, Toronto and Mississauga for example, have been shut down out of concern for the health of the players.  Private organizations will not be covered by insurance providers.

Q- A father who lives down the street, who I believe was an assistant coach for a House League team in Mississauga has suggested he could supervise kids who want to skate during March Break.  Is that allowed?
A→The Mississauga Hockey League, just like the North York Hockey League are members of the GTHL.  That means he must follow the guidelines set out by Hockey Canada, which means he is not allowed to organize any on-ice activities.  If he is not involved in a team he can do this, but he will not be covered by any insurance policies. 

Q- If one of our players tests positive who should we report to?
A→You should report this to the GTHL Office (Scott Oakman or Michelle Fata) and advise the other players and team officials from the team.

(Updated March 18) Q-Is the GTHL office closed for the foreseeable future?
A→Right now the GTHL office is closed to the general public and staff are working from home. Please leave a voicemail or e-mail staff if you wish to reach them. 

Q-Can we meet with our coaches to discuss next season?
A→As of now, the recommendation by medical professionals is to avoid meeting in large groups.  The recommendation would be to avoid meeting in person unless it was absolutely necessary. 

Q-Is the Trillium grant still operational/available?

Q-I want my son to play in house league again next year and maybe go into a hockey school. Will these be  delayed?A→As of now registration for next season will be delayed. There will be more direction about this in the coming days.

Q-How will playoff finals be addressed.  No winners no losers?
A→The season is over. The League will not be declaring any Playoff winners.

Q- My daughter was playing on a team that was in the playoffs.  The season was shut down by the league.   So I get a refund?
A→This is a decision that will be made by the organization where your daughter played. Please contact them for more information.

(Added March 16) Q-What will happen to Spring tryouts for the 2020-21 season?
A→The Ontario Hockey Federation and it’s Member Partners, including the GTHL, have decided that no tryouts for the 2020-21 season will not be conducted in the Spring. Click here to read the full statement.