To provide guidance and a clear path for our members who are working to prepare for the coming Ringette season, the Board of Directors of Ringette Ontario, after consultation with the Executive Director, is making the following announcements:
- All Ringette group activity in Ontario is suspended until September 1, 2020.
- All sanctioned tournaments and league play in Ontario are suspended until January 1, 2021.
Why Are These Activities Being Suspended?
Our goal at Ringette Ontario is to get you back on the ice as soon as it is safe to do so. There are many factors beyond our control that affect when and how this happens, but as athletes and coaches know, we must concentrate on the things we can control, and be ready to make the most of an opportunity when it comes. Planning and preparation at Ringette Ontario are focused on being ready.
While we are disappointed to have to cancel sanctioned events in the first half of the season, it is important that local associations focus their resources on being prepared and flexible in an uncertain environment, and that they avoid the costs and risks involved in planning for events that have a high probability of cancellation. It seems likely that the timing for access to arenas and restrictions on group activities will vary from place to place across the province. Windows of opportunity to play may open on short notice - and may close again on short notice. Our plans and programs need to adapt to this reality.
Actions We Are Taking
Executive Director Pam Julian was asked to participate in the Safety in Sport sub-committee of the Amateur Sport Advisory Panel formed by the Ministry of Tourism, Sport, Heritage and Culture. This sub-committee contributed to the overall recommendations to the Ministry on getting sport safely back up and running in our communities.
In addition, we have come to the table with other ice sports to work on creating a harmonized approach to our Return to Activity/Return to Play protocols, specifically with respect to access to facilities. We will be assisting local Ringette Associations to work with local facilities, contact their local public health agencies and forge alliances with other ice sports in each community. It is vitally important that community ice sports work together to get our athletes back on the ice.
We have created a Season Coordinating Committee chaired by Chris Sharpe of Western Region and involving the Regional Chairs and representatives from Coaching, Officiating and Games & Tournaments. The committee and RO staff will be working with local Ringette Associations to prepare programming that will enable their members to get on the ice and enjoy Ringette as soon as it is possible to do so in each community.
Principles That Guide Our Actions
Ringette Ontario has identified these principles to guide us as we work towards our goal of getting us all safely back on the ice:
- The safety of our participants is non-negotiable: We may simplify, modify or eliminate certain policies or procedures with the goal of getting back on the ice, but we will not compromise on Safe Sport. We will develop back to the ice guidelines that will be vetted by public health, legal, and insurance advisors to ensure that we are meeting the standards needed to get participants safely back on the ice. All Safe Sport policies regarding coach screening and certification requirements, concussion protocols, codes of conduct and ethics, will continue to apply.
- Back on the Ice is our goal: Whatever kind of play or program we are able to mount, we think that any format that gives our players an opportunity to get back on the ice safely is a good thing. The central passion for any player is just to play and we want to keep our sport thriving through this challenge by keeping that passion alive.
- We are willing to try new things: In the current environment, there is no “business as usual”. We will be innovative in creating new opportunities for our participants. RO is working on programming and resources to assist with athlete, coaching and officiating development and connect you with others while you are away from the rink. We are developing small-side game formats that can be used in case numbers are restricted when we are allowed back into the rink.
- We will continue to nurture the Ringette Community: In Ringette, we value community, we embrace challenges and our sport builds character. Playing our game is a fun way to do that but there is a chance that we will not be able to play our game. That doesn’t mean we lose our community. Instead, let’s continue to support one another, maintain connections and fuel the passion that we all have for our incredible sport.
- Be Positive: While we cannot control when the rinks open or when we will be back with our team, we can control our own positive attitude and personal preparation. We can shoot rings in the driveway, work out in the back yard, and run in the park. Just like in a regular season, we can each look forward with enthusiasm and ensure we are ready when our name is called.
- Be a team player: Ringette Ontario encourages members of the Ringette community to continue to follow the direction of public health and government authorities with respect to physical distancing, avoiding large groups and wearing masks. These measures will help contribute to controlling the pandemic and the co-operation and support of these measures ultimately will get us back on the ice sooner.
Ringette Ontario President, John Voss and Executive Director, Pam Julian will be hosting a Facebook Live Town Hall
in the coming weeks to tell you more about our plans in more detail and answer your questions. Following the town hall, we will be sending out a survey to membership in order to provide information for our Associations for the coming season.
Please look for further details in the coming week.
The Ringette Ontario Team