COVID-19: New England Freezes Interstate Youth Hockey through End of the Year
In response to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the region, including outbreaks specifically associated with interstate youth hockey, the governors of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey have agreed to a regional approach to the problem that suspends interstate competitions for public and private schools and youth hockey, effective November 14 through December 31. The prohibition does not apply to youth hockey played exclusively in state, and it does not impact interstate collegiate, professional, or U.S. national team hockey activities, which remain subject to existing health and safety protocols and/or restrictions. On November 12, the Ivy League announced its unanimous decision to not conduct any intercollegiate competition in winter sports.
Some states in the region had already enacted similar policies, but the seven governors felt that a coordinated policy for neighboring states was critical to further limit community spread. For example, Massachusetts and New Hampshire had previously mandated a two-week shutdown of ice rinks after COVID clusters were traced back to ice rinks used for hockey. Maine’s current guidance for community sports prohibits competition between hockey teams from different geographic areas until January 11, 2021. Rhode Island considers hockey a “medium-risk” sport for purposes of its indoor sports guidance. Guidance for amateur youth sports applicable to hockey is also available for Connecticut and Massachusetts. New Hampshire has guidance specifically for hockey and indoor ice arenas.