Return To Hockey 2020

In our 13 years we have never spent more than four consecutive days off the ice. It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 100 days now, as a result of our temporary suspension of operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, there hasn’t been anything more than speculation to share on when we could expect to reopen, simply due to the complexity and uncertainty of the greater situation.

We’re happy to share that we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve established this page as a reference guide for our players as we prepare to return to the ice. It will be continually updated as new information becomes available. We’re calling it Return to Hockey 2020 and we can’t wait to welcome you back to the ice.

Latest Reopening Update

On Monday, 7/6/2020, we had the go ahead to reopen and were excited to get started with games that evening. Unfortunately, late on the same day we received new guidance from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that categorized ice hockey in a way that does not permit games at this time. Although we now find ourselves back in an area of uncertainty.

What Happened

The latest categorization is restrictive in the way that does not distinguish between contact and non-contact ice hockey. We and others throughout the hockey community believe that this was an oversight and that a catch all decision has been made based upon the risks of full contact hockey.

As a result, members of the hockey community and rink industry in Massachusetts have asked state administrators to distinguish between contact hockey and non-contact hockey. Specifically, the Commonwealth has been asked to place non-contact hockey in the same category as non-contact lacrosse, field hockey, and volleyball, all of which have already been allowed to resume games. This seems to be a more appropriate categorization than where it is now, alongside sports such as full contact football, wrestling, and full contact lacrosse.

What Happens Next

We remain confident in state government and their position to make decisions based on data and resources that only they have. We believe their decisions are being be made with the best interest of everyone in the Commonwealth in mind. We also realize that there is an overwhelming amount of industries in the Commonwealth that they are assigning risk to. Like hockey, many of those have differences and sub-categories that result in greatly differing risk factors. We believe that the risk factors for ice hockey are most similar to those of sports that have already been allowed to resume games.

A decision that recategorizes non-contact hockey could come any day and would allow us to start games immediately. We’re hoping that this is the case, so as of now we still have games scheduled for as soon as next week. Another possibility is the clearance for ice hockey’s current category to begin scrimmages, such as our Standard Games, which would come in phase 3, part 2, in the coming weeks. However, if neither were to occur, all games would be further delayed without certainty of when they could resume. In any case where we do not have approval to hold games, we’ll delay or cancel them on a week by week basis.

What You Can Do To Help

Below are some actions that you can take to help get us back on the ice, reduce the long-term impact to our sport, and prevent the potential for closure that many ice rinks will face. Our goal is to bring attention to the fact that contact ice hockey carries much different risk factors than non-contact hockey, and drive a reassessment by the experts and administrators of the most appropriate categorization for non-contact hockey.

Sign a Petition for Recategorization of Non-Contact Hockey

This petition is geared towards letting kids play non-contact hockey, which we are in full support of. We also believe that it will bring to light the difference in risk between contact and non-contact ice hockey as a whole.

Email Your State Administrators, Senators, and Representatives

Let your state administrators and legislators know that it’s vital that contact and non-contact ice hockey be individually categorized due to their differing risk, and that non-contact ice hockey should be included in the same category as sports that have already been allowed to restart games, such as field hockey and non-contact lacrosse. If you’re unsure of who your legislators are, you can look them up online.

Our Commitment to Your Wellness

StinkySocks Hockey has always been about wellness. Getting on the ice to play the game we love is a way for us to all to enhance our physical and mental wellbeing. One of our founding values is to maintain an environment that protects players from anything that detracts from an enjoyable experience. Our goal during reopening is to continue that, with new and additional attention given to reducing the risk that COVID-19 affects our community. Our goals for a successful return to hockey are to have our players and staff feel comfortable, have them feel protected, and to create a safer environment to reduce the chance of another suspension of play.

AT THE RINK

We’re working with our rink partners as they each roll out their plans for safety and wellbeing at the rink. At the very least this includes enhanced sanitizing throughout the facility, with greater attention to touch points (handles, knobs, fixtures, benches, vending machines) and high use areas (benches, lobby, restrooms). Many facilities will be using devices such as electrostatic fogger sanitizers regularly to ensure surfaces are sanitized. Players should expect traffic patterns in the rink to maintain distance between visitors.

Guidelines, Recommendations, and Policy Changes

StinkySocks Hockey will have additional guidelines that are beyond those of public health officials. Many of those are common sense reminders and some are small changes in the way we operate to reduce risk. We invite you to review the “Guidelines for Participation:” section on this page for the most current guidelines. We’ve also established policy changes that support those, located below under “Policy Changes.”

Contact Tracing

One of the great things about the StinkySocks Hockey community is that our players respect and care for each other. Now more than ever that matters. If you find out that you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 after playing with us, we ask that you help protect others by informing us by phone or email. Your identity will never be disclosed. Part of our plan for returning to the ice is having a definite list of players who were present at each game to enable effective contact tracing and notification. In the case that we are notified of such a situation, we’ll inform anyone who may have come into contact with that person.

KEEP THE FEEDBACK COMING

 If you see something that makes you feel uncomfortable or have suggestions of how we can increase the comfort and safety of everyone, please let us know. Many of the best ideas on how we can return to the ice the right way will come from our players.

What to Expect

Contactless Attendance

Our unique jersey numbering enables contactless attendance and gives us a high certainty of positively identifying players. Effective immediately, all skaters will be required to wear a StinkySocks Hockey jersey to participate in Standard Games/No Commitment Hockey. Goalies are exempt from the jersey requirement and it does not apply to BYOT games.

Permanent Policy Change: StinkySocks Hockey jerseys are required for all skaters to participate in any Standard Game.

To make our jerseys more accessible we’re covering part of the cost of buying one by offering 40% off for a limited time. Get started by browsing available jersey options and use coupon code RTH2020 at checkout. Although jerseys are also discounted for goalies, they always get one as a free gift when committing to a season pass.

Requirements Through August

  • Through August, there will be a hard cutoff for booking No Commitment Hockey, as follows:
    • 5PM on the day of the game for games after 6PM
    • 5PM the day prior for games starting before noon
    • 11AM on the day of the game for games between 12PM and 5:55PM
  • Players must observe the temporary “Guidelines for Participation” that are listed below.

The Summer Season

There will be no new season passes for July and August, only individual games through No Commitment Hockey. NCH games are available for purchase now, with additional ones being released on an ongoing basis.

Temporary Policy Change: Through August we’ve relaxed our game change/cancellation policy to allow players to cancel up until 2 hours before game time for a full refund.

Fall/Winter Season Passes

Season passes for Fall/Winter will be available for purchase from the end of June.

Temporary Policy Changes: We’ve relaxed our cancellation policy for season passes through the end of 2020 to allow a full refund up until the day of your first scheduled game. Additionally, we have established a plan for season passes in the event there is another suspension of play. In the event of a closure, up to six games will be rescheduled to the end of your season pass. In the event of a closure that exceeds that, any games beyond six will be refunded.

Paused Season Passes

Whenever possible, season passes will resume when play at that the location resumes. In the event that a season cannot resume within a reasonable timeframe players can expect a prorated credit for the games that were missed. Players who have had their seasons paused at locations that are returning in July or August should have already received an email with details on their restart. Other locations, notably Somerville and Andover, will receive details as soon as we can confirm a reopening date.

Resuming BYOT Leagues

Any league that was paused will resume when it’s location reopens. Any team payments that had not been split will be shortly before play resumes. Team conference calls will take place to discuss any questions or concerns.

Contactless Attendance

Through August, captains will certify and submit to the scorekeeper their team’s attendance for each game to limit the scorekeeper’s direct contact with players. Forms and further details will be provided to captains.

Renewals for Fall/Winter

Renewals are already in process for BYOT leagues that ended in March due to high demand from teams that played in other leagues that have folded, many teams starting to ask about fall/winter, as well as our new BYOT locations.. Captains should expect to hear from the league regarding renewals in June or can find more information on their upcoming league on the BYOT Leagues page.

Resuming Unlimited Membership Payments and Benefits

All Unlimited Memberships have been on hold and are currently set to resume on 9/8/2020. Payments will run and membership benefits will resume on that date. Unlimited members can opt in to resume their membership earlier, on either 7/8 or 8/8, by contacting the league office.

Credits for Missed Benefits During Closure

Unlimited benefits became unavailable as of 3/13/2o2o, which was mid membership month for many members. Unlimited members will each receive an email by 6/24 that will contain their details of how many days were paid for while benefits were unavailable, along with a prorated credit for those in the form of a gift certificate code. That code can be used towards NCH games that take place before memberships are reactivated, request that the funds be put towards future Unlimited  Membership payments, or cashed out as a refund to their original form of payment.

Standard Games & NCH

Contactless Attendance

Our unique jersey numbering enables contactless attendance and gives us a high certainty of positively identifying players. Effective immediately, all skaters will be required to wear a StinkySocks Hockey jersey to participate in Standard Games/No Commitment Hockey. Goalies are exempt from the jersey requirement and it does not apply to BYOT games.

Permanent Policy Change: StinkySocks Hockey jerseys are required for all skaters to participate in any Standard Game.

To make our jerseys more accessible we’re covering part of the cost of buying one by offering 40% off for a limited time. Get started by browsing available jersey options and use coupon code RTH2020 at checkout. Although jerseys are also discounted for goalies, they always get one as a free gift when committing to a season pass.

Requirements Through August

  • Through August, there will be a hard cutoff for booking No Commitment Hockey, as follows:
    • 5PM on the day of the game for games after 6PM
    • 5PM the day prior for games starting before noon
    • 11AM on the day of the game for games between 12PM and 5:55PM
  • Players must observe the temporary “Guidelines for Participation” that are listed below.

The Summer Season

There will be no new season passes for July and August, only individual games through No Commitment Hockey. NCH games are available for purchase now, with additional ones being released on an ongoing basis.

Temporary Policy Change: Through August we’ve relaxed our game change/cancellation policy to allow players to cancel up until 2 hours before game time for a full refund.

Fall/Winter Season Passes

Season passes for Fall/Winter will be available for purchase from the end of June.

Temporary Policy Changes: We’ve relaxed our cancellation policy for season passes through the end of 2020 to allow a full refund up until the day of your first scheduled game. Additionally, we have established a plan for season passes in the event there is another suspension of play. In the event of a closure, up to six games will be rescheduled to the end of your season pass. In the event of a closure that exceeds that, any games beyond six will be refunded.

Paused Season Passes

Whenever possible, season passes will resume when play at that the location resumes. In the event that a season cannot resume within a reasonable timeframe players can expect a prorated credit for the games that were missed. Players who have had their seasons paused at locations that are returning in July or August should have already received an email with details on their restart. Other locations, notably Somerville and Andover, will receive details as soon as we can confirm a reopening date.

BYOT Leagues

Resuming BYOT Leagues

Any league that was paused will resume when it’s location reopens. Any team payments that had not been split will be shortly before play resumes. Team conference calls will take place to discuss any questions or concerns.

Contactless Attendance

Through August, captains will certify and submit to the scorekeeper their team’s attendance for each game to limit the scorekeeper’s direct contact with players. Forms and further details will be provided to captains.

Renewals for Fall/Winter

Renewals are already in process for BYOT leagues that ended in March due to high demand from teams that played in other leagues that have folded, many teams starting to ask about fall/winter, as well as our new BYOT locations.. Captains should expect to hear from the league regarding renewals in June or can find more information on their upcoming league on the BYOT Leagues page.

Unlimited Memberships

Resuming Unlimited Membership Payments and Benefits

All Unlimited Memberships have been on hold and are currently set to resume on 9/8/2020. Payments will run and membership benefits will resume on that date. Unlimited members can opt in to resume their membership earlier, on either 7/8 or 8/8, by contacting the league office.

Credits for Missed Benefits During Closure

Unlimited benefits became unavailable as of 3/13/2o2o, which was mid membership month for many members. Unlimited members will each receive an email by 6/24 that will contain their details of how many days were paid for while benefits were unavailable, along with a prorated credit for those in the form of a gift certificate code. That code can be used towards NCH games that take place before memberships are reactivated, request that the funds be put towards future Unlimited  Membership payments, or cashed out as a refund to their original form of payment.

StinkySocks Hockey Jersey Status

Demand for our jerseys is extremely high due to the new requirement of Standard Game skaters to have a StinkySocks Hockey jersey in order to play. Below are the dates that those who have ordered jerseys should expect to receive them:

Stock (non-customized) jerseys listed as “in stock” at the time of purchase should have already been received.

Stock (non-customized) jerseys listed as “backorder” at the time of purchase are estimated to be received by us and shipped to you between 7/14 and 7/18. We’ll continue to update this estimate as we receive updates from the manufacturer.

Customized jerseys ordered on or before 6/26 are estimated to be received by us and shipped to you between 7/14 and 7/18. We’ll continue to update this estimate as we receive updates from the manufacturer.

Customized jerseys ordered after 6/26 are estimated to be received by us and shipped to you by 7/31. We’ll continue to update this estimate as we receive updates from the manufacturer.

We encourage anyone who wishes to play as soon as possible to not wait until jerseys are listed as “in stock” but rather place their jersey order now. Inventory that is en route to us will be allocated to orders placed before the rest are available for purchase as “in stock” items.

Guidelines for Participation

Guidelines that will come from state and local health officials are still forthcoming. Out of an abundance of caution, the protections that we and our rink partners put in place will be beyond that. Below are the requirements and recommendations that we expect to be in place through August. We'll update this information as it becomes available.

Requirements

  • If you’re not feeling well, don't go to the rink. Relaxed cancellation policies are in place.
  • A face covering is required when in the building.
  • Arrive only 15 minutes before your game.
  • Sanitize your hands when entering and exiting the rink.
  • Follow all posted signs at the rink, and direction from rink staff.
  • Keep distancing whenever possible.
  • No close interactions are permitted on ice during stoppage of play.
  • Spitting is not permitted on the ice or anywhere else.
  • Do not share water bottles.
  • Postgame handshakes will not take place at this time.
  • Leave the rink soon after the game ends. No congregating at the rink or parking lot is permitted pregame or postgame.

Recommendations

  • Anyone who is in a high risk category (as defined by CDC) should NOT come to the rink.
  • Wear a helmet hockey face shield or face covering while on the ice.
  • If not wearing your face covering on the ice, we ask that you store it in a bag or container during that time.

Location Reopening

Our rinks will be reopened on a rolling basis. Below are the dates as of now, which are subject to change.

JULY

Bedford
Brighton
Burlington – mornings
Natick
Revere *new*
W Roxbury
Westborough

AUGUST

Dedham (8/1) *new*
Cambridge (8/23)
Chelmsford
Marlboro (8/17)
Somerville (TBD)

SEPTEMBER

Andover
Burlington – evenings *new*
Charlestown
Dorchester
East Boston *new*
Hopedale *new*
Hyde Park
Milton
S Boston
Waltham *new*

DATE NOT SET AS OF NOW

BU’s Agganis Arena (TBA)
Concord (TBA)
North End (late winter)

Policy Changes

Relaxed Change/Cancellation Policies

  • Through August, No Commitment Hockey games can be refunded when canceling at least 2 hours before game time on the day of the game.
  • Through December, Season Passes can be canceled for a refund until the day of the first game.

Permanent Policy Change

StinkySocks Hockey jerseys are required for all skaters to participate in any Standard Game. Our unique jersey numbering enables contactless attendance. This does not apply to goalies or to BYOT Leagues.

To make our jerseys more accessible we’re covering part of the cost of buying one by offering 40% off for a limited time. Get started by browsing available jersey options and use coupon code RTH2020 at checkout.

Plan In The Event of a Second Closure

In the event of a second closure, the following applies to season passes and BYOT:

  • Pause of 6 weeks or less – Season would resume again with all missed games being moved to the end of the season, thus moving the season end date back up to 6 weeks.
  • Pause of more than 6 weeks – Season would resume again with 6 weeks added to the end of the expected season end date. Any missed games that exceed 6 weeks will be cut from the schedule and a prorated refund issued.

Order Pickups

The ability to pick up your order at our Boston office has been suspended until 9/1/2020. Orders can be received by most Boston area customers within two business days.