Michigan’s Governor Whitmer announced on Thursday, Sept. 3rd that ice rinks can open on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 per Executive Orders (EOs) 175 and 176.
We know that our hockey family has anxiously been awaiting this announcement, and there are no doubt LOTS of questions. PLEASE be patient and check our website, social sites, and your inbox frequently for up-to-date information in the coming days.
As you can imagine, we are feverishly working with our partners, staff and coaches to get this season up and running. And while we have spent the down time these last few months putting plans and procedures into place, we now have to coordinate and execute everything in a very short period of time. We thank you in advance for your patience.
Email will be the best way to reach us and we have created new email addresses to help ensure you are contacting the correct person for your question/issue:
ALL travel KWINGS questions should be emailed to KWINGS@koha.com
ALL House B BRONCOS questions should be emailed to BRONCOS@koha.com
ALL coaching questions should be emailed to Matt@koha.com
ALL general questions, or if you’re having issues with registering for a tryout, camp or clinic can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
ALL House C questions (Learn To Skate, Beg. Hockey, 6U/8U/10U/12U/14U) can be emailed to one of the following specific email addresses depending on your question: LearnToSkate@koha.com BeginHockey@koha.com, email@example.com, HouseC@koha.com
We also have an email that will get you directly to our Board President should you have the desire to reach the board directly. Our President for the 2020-21 season, Dianne Shaffer, can be reached at President@koha.com
As you know, under Executive Order, rinks in Kalamazoo have been closed since mid-March. If you follow us on social media, you may have seen that Lawson put their ice in last week in anticipation of the return of their student-athletes. WMU has not yet determined if/when they will allow outside user groups - like KOHA - to rent ice. Their primary objective is keeping their student-athletes safe and healthy. We will keep you posted as we know more regarding their facility.
Wings West took their ice out in April. Since that time, they have done some significant upgrades and maintenance in the building and in the rinks, specifically. With yesterday’s announcement, they are working to coordinate getting the ice back in and beginning the ice building process after the holiday weekend. Their current plan is to have the Blue Rink ready to skate on Saturday, September 12th and the Red Rink available by Thursday, September 17th. In a statement from Chris Wang at Wings West, he communicated the following, “The Governor's Executive Orders are very specific on which groups (ice rentals) we can or cannot host. So what does this mean? It means that it will not be a free-for-all on ice and there will be groups that will not be able to rent ice and skate just yet. I will have further communication after I continue to deficer EOs 175 and 176. I can tell you that we will not host public skate, open hockey, sticks & pucks, and a few private ice rentals until a later date. The EO's put a strong emphasis on "organized sports" & "sports organizer(s)". Subsequently I do believe that there must be an official and recognized association involved in the rental of the ice. But as I stated, I will continue to dive into the EO's and wait for more follow up from the state for any changes or updates to the Orders.”
Wang continued, “Once we do open, we will have very specific protocols that must be followed, most of which are stated in the EO's 175 & 176. However, as a facility, we do have the ability to add additional safety protocols if necessary. This will absolutely be a full team effort to ensure our guests and staff continue to be safe. The EO's put a lot of responsibilities on the "Sports Organizers" to ensure that their skaters are following the safety protocols, but as a facility, we will also take responsibility and the initiative to ensure everyone is safe. We are very excited (and fortunate) that ice rinks will be open next week, so we must do everything we can to ensure that everyone remains safe and that ice rinks are not forced to close. Please note that EO 176, sec. 7(b) states that athletes participating in organized sports must wear face covering, except when swimming. I know this is a hot topic, but our interpretation is that everyone will be required to wear a mask while on the ice. A full face cage or a "bubble mask" will not qualify as a face mask. Until I receive further clarity on that rule, it will be a requirement. I am asking and expecting for full cooperation from our user groups and staff. These are mandated protocols set by the Governor's office and we need to follow the guidelines set in place.”
As an association, we are asking parents start talking to their players about the importance of being respectful and wearing their masks AT ALL TIMES while in the rinks until further notice. This will be an integral part in helping ensure our rinks stay open!
TRYOUTS & EVALUATION SKATES
We expect that MAHA will announce in the next day or two the finalized Return to the Rink guidelines which will include dates that Tier II (KWINGS) tryouts will be allowed as well as any guidelines and/or restrictions to start the season. We will communicate all of that once we have it from MAHA.
WHAT IS THE PLAN TO GET READY FOR TRYOUTS?
We know you’re anxious to get your player(s) on the ice - we are too! And we absolutely want to ensure that our players have the chance to get on the ice before tryouts and evaluation skates.
WE ARE PLANNING TO RUN THE SUMMER DEVELOPMENT CAMPS AND CLINICS THAT WERE ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST, THE WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 12 & 13, AND THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 14 (MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY). Those registrations are NOW OPEN again!
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE UPDATED DATES & TIMES AS WELL AS THE LINKS TO REGISTER!
(If you had already registered for these initially and did NOT request a refund, your player is already registered for the new dates/times.)
BONUS: Athletic Mentors is as committed to getting our players ready for tryouts and eval skates as we are! They are offering off-ice opportunities that will complement our on-ice offerings leading up to tryouts!
In the coming days, via email, website & social sites, we will:
-Continue to share safety precautions and new procedures for rinks and building access (masks, specific entrance and exits, locker rooms, etc.)
-Announce tryout dates for travel tryouts (A/AA KWINGS) & evaluation skates (House B BRONCOS)
-Announce any additional on-ice and off-ice opportunities available to players prior to tryouts and evaluation skates.
-Announce the opening of the House C season (including Learn To Skate, 6U/8U/10U/12U/14U) and links to register.
We look forward to getting everyone back on the ice and having a safe and awesome 2020-21 season!
We A.R.E. KOHA
Attitude. Respect. Effort.