Kitchener minor hockey players allowed back to practice in red tier
KITCHENER -- Minor hockey players in Kitchener were back on the ice Tuesday for the first time since the province-wide lockdown started on Boxing Day.
Under the red tier, 10 players can be on the ice at the same time.
Mayela Torre is looking forward to getting back to the game she loves.
"I feel super excited," she said. "I know I've been doing hockey here, but it didn't feel as good as when I was playing with all my friends, so I just cannot wait to go back."
Her dad, Dominic Toore, is excited, too.
"I feel confident returning," he said. "Leading into the lockdown we had parameters set in place that made me feel very safe."
The Kitchener Minor Hockey Association returned all of its programs to the ice on Tuesday.
"We're going to do it safely, we're going to return following all the rules that exist," GM Roland Cyr said.
Ten players and four instructors are allowed on the ice at one time. Athletes are asked to come dressed in gear. One parent is allowed inside the arena.
They're limited to skills practice only.
"We think it's important that they meet other people, that they move their body, that they learn sportsmanship," said Kim Crackel.
"It's actually more beneficial for the kids, because at such a young age, there's now a higher ratio of coaches to hockey players," said Janine Scott.
Parents also said it's important for kid's mental health.
"They felt really lonely, I think, being at home and not being able to see their friends," Crackel said.
As for Waterloo Minor Hockey, rep teams will start on the ice on Thursday. House league players will start at the beginning of next week.
The Cambridge Minor Hockey Association has cancelled the remainder of its house league season due in part to the financial burden from the pandemic. Rep hockey teams, on the other hand, will be back on the ice next week.
This is a corrected story. A previous version stated that the Cambridge Minor Hockey Association had cancelled the remainder of its season -- in fact, representative hockey has not been cancelled.