Restore Youth Hockey
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RESTORE YOUTH HOCKEY
Youth hockey should be reclassified as a low risk sport for the following reasons:
WHY SHOULD HOCKEY BE A LOW RISK SPORT?
Ø Every player is in protective gear which includes gloves and face mask
Ø There is no skin or face contact during a game
Ø Youth hockey rules prohibit body contact and enforce penalties for such actions
Ø The puck never contacts the player, the puck is touched by a stick which is held by a hand covered by a glove.
Ø Hockey players do not share protective equipment nor sticks.
Ø Players can arrive fully dressed thereby eliminating any contact in a small space.
Ø There are no intermissions therefore no need to enter a locker room during a game.
Ø Ice arenas are vast in space, the ice surface alone is 17,000 sq.ft. That equates to 1,416 a sq.ft. per player assuming twelve players on the ice.
Ø The air is never stagnant as it is constantly being cycled to cool the rink.
Ø Hockey teams are generally smaller than other sports team rosters allowing for appropriate spacing on the bench.
Ø The duration of a youth hockey game is under an hour; a key covid spreader is duration of time with infected individuals.
HOW TO PROVIDE FURTHER PROTECTION
Ø Require mouth guards (already required at most levels) making it difficult to spew saliva during a game providing additional protections under the face mask.
Ø Space around benches can be utilized creatively to provide any necessary additional social distancing
Ø Multiple sanitizers on the bench with required usage upon the removal of gloves and helmet after a game limiting potential spread to face or bare skin.
Ø Require a no checking rule (already in place for under age 14) to further limit bodily contact.
BENEFITS OF RESTORING YOUTH HOCKEY
Ø Patterns established in youth typically carry into adulthood. Missing even one year of youth hockey will result in some kids never returning to sport. This could permanently change their trajectory in life to a more sedentary lifestyle, a future risk for not only COVID but all diseases which is a bigger struggle for the US. Per the Aspen project, adolescents who play sports are 8 times more likely to be active at age 24 a key indicator of future health.
Ø Most kids are going to have to learn remotely for the school year with no PE and questionable “movement breaks”. Hockey will allow them to obtain this much needed physicality as well as promoting social and emotional health.
Ø The research shows the best way to fight Covid is a strong respiratory system and a healthy weight which youth hockey will help to provide for its skaters.
Ø Experts agree youth sports help to prevent type 2 diabetes, a significant underlying health condition if exposed to Covid.
Ø Most athletes do better academically per the University of Missouri Health Care. (UMHC) which is just as important for the future of our state and country as fighting Covid.
Ø Per UMHC sports encourage healthy decision making such as not smoking and not drinking which provides a healthier body in the fight of COVID and future disease and a more productive future work force.
Ø Social options are already extremely limited for our youth. Having a hockey team will be a natural social pod with the same kids over a six-month period and critical for their social and emotional development.
Ø Youth hockey will be a voluntary choice by parents and coaches who know and accept the associated risks.
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