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Gerry McCrory Sports Complex ready to go in August

For all those involved with the re-opening of the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex on August 3rd (pad #2 is set to open on the 3rd; pad #1 should follow suit on August 17th), there is no pre-existing playback on which to fall back upon, in times of pandemic.

With that in mind, it's not surprising that information and instructions remain fluid, including some adjustments between even the first email that user groups received on July 21st, and an update that came just two days later.

Where the initial plans called for dressing rooms to be open, but showers and washroom areas within the rooms to remain closed, subsequent dialogue between city officials and the local health unit opened the door to allowing athletes to shower, post-practice.

They will, however, have to move quickly, with 20 minutes allocated for teams to be out of their rooms, upon completion of their ice-time, allowing staff to tackle many of the additional cleaning requirements that are in place to assist in the fight to combat Covid-19.

Many of the other changes that differ from what participants would have experienced as recently as this past February are very much in line with what the hockey community was expecting, and what had been discussed by Hockey Canada and others in the various Return to Play documents that have been produced.

These guidelines include:

- face coverings or non-medical masks will be required at all times, except when on the ice

- physical distancing rules remain in effect for spectators - spectators will be limited to 35 people for pad 2 and 50 people for pad 1, and will be required to wear a face covering or non-medical mask

- a maximum of 40 skaters will be permitted on the ice surface at a time

- games / scrimmages are permitted so long as they do not allow prolonged or deliberate physical contact between players or if they have modifications to avoid physical contact between players

- while on the ice to assist with practices, figure skaters, hockey schools or skill development, individuals must adhere to physical distance measures

- wall mounted hand sanitizer units will be available on-site; however, the public is encouraged to bring their own hand sanitizer to the facilities

- Countryside Sports Complex will be open Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., but will be closed on weekends

Based on early feedback, it appears that demand for ice is quite high, in spite of the general sense of many in the minor hockey community that organized game/league play is not likely to be re-introduced until late 2020/early 2021.

Northern Ontario AAA Hockey League