Hockey is slowly making its return in Red Deer as Red Deer Minor Hockey announced a return to play plan for players at the elite (AAA/AA) level. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer Minor Hockey easing into return to play plan

Red Deer Minor Hockey is gearing up for players to get back on the ice.

With September just around the corner, hockey tryouts are usually in full swing and players are already looking forward to game action.

As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeps Alberta in Stage 2 of its relaunch strategy, there has been plenty of uncertainty about the upcoming hockey season. Thursday, the RDMH released early plans for return to play.

“Red Deer Minor Hockey is in the process of implementing a season plan to align with the Current Hockey Alberta Stage 2 Return to Play model while meeting the current health and safety requirements of the Government of Alberta,” a post on its website reads.

“We intend to offer the best version of hockey that can be delivered within the restrictions in place.”

RDMH will start with cohort registration over the next week, so they can place no more than 50 players in a group as required by Alberta Health Services. Players are not allowed to be a part of more than one cohort.

Players who have registered for elite hockey (AAA/AA/A) will be invited to join pre-team selection cohorts or pre-team training cohorts. City league players will also get that opportunity, once more information about a return to play is available.

For players interested in AAA hockey, teams will host level one skill sessions, which will be available for players who participated at the AAA or AA last season or by invitation. Players will then have to attend two Physical Distance Skill Evaluation Sessions (Tryouts). Once those are finished, players will be invited to join a cohort, assigned to elite training group one or release to their home association.

Level 1 skill sessions will start for U18AAA male and female on Sept. 8, with U16AAA players on Sept. 12, and U15AAA on Sept. 9. Goalie skill sessions are set for Sept. 7.

Level 2 skill evaluation sessions for AA and A players are open to anyone registered to play elite hockey and will take place between Sept. 13-28.

Registration fees for AAA hockey will remain the same, in AA they will be reduced by $100 and in A and B hockey, they will be prorated once a season format and team formation have been selected. At the Intro to Hockey level, registration fees will also be prorated once start dates and programming guidelines have been set.

For more information on the return to play plan, check out https://www.reddeerminorhockey.com/content/return-to-hockey——registration-update

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