If all goes well, young hockey players across New Brunswick may return to the ice by September or October says Louis Gaudet, Hockey New Brunswick's chair of Elite Hockey and chair for the Return to Hockey working group.
The organization released its 11-page plan Wednesday detailing the health and safety protocols the sport will have to follow as amateur hockey resumes.
"There have certainly been lots of questions," Gaudet said of how things will work.
Hockey NB will follow five phases as it makes a slow and safe return for players to don their gear and hit the ice.
Gaudet says the actual timeframe for each phase will be decided in consultation with the provincial government and Hockey Canada.
"Phase one will be skills development in the local associations' regions and then they will move onto more of a practice–type scrimmages with still limited amount of players and coaches on the ice."
Gaudet said phase three will allow regular games with travel restricted to their own region.
"From that they'll move to games outside their region and then in phase five, tournaments will be allowed within our region, and outside our region possibly, depending on government guidelines once again.
"It's a very fluid document, it will be ongoing."
Communication key at local level
Each local hockey association will have a communications officer and a team liaison.
"Communication with both Hockey New Brunswick and their facilities they use will be of utmost importance," said Gaudet.
With no direct control over facilities, Gaudet said there is a possibility some rinks or arenas in small communities may not open due to financial constraints, but he added he's hopeful all will be able to reopen.
If some rinks remain closed, he hopes alternate arrangements can be made with other facilities in the area so players can get back on the ice.
The first return may mean players will have to arrive already dressed in their gear and skates, ready to hit the ice.
"The two biggest areas of concern for COVID transmission and physical distancing are benches and dressing rooms."
Gaudet said the one constant question they receive from players and parents is when will games be able to proceed.
"A lot of that is undetermined and unknown. It's going to depend on the current situation at the time. September and October are still a few months away, a lot of things can change from now to then."
Gaudet said local associations are being told to prepare for a regular season with some varied openings.
"Follow the guidelines and hopefully we'll come back to some type of normal with play within the 2020-2021 season."
Flu shot recommended
Getting a flu shot is also one of the recommendations in the guidelines, something Gaudet said was recommended by the organizations own chief medical of health officer.
"If there was to be a regular flu outbreak along with the COVID situation it could have dire straits for all recreation and sport. [It's] just another layer of protection in our battle against COVID-19."
Gaudet said Hockey NB will be relying on associations to enforce and follow the guidelines and local board members to keep on eye on things.
"We will have to deal on a situation to situation basis with those people who are not complying the directives set out by Hockey New Brunswick, Hockey Canada and the public health officer."
Gaudet said they are hoping people will want to play hockey enough that they will comply.
"A slow approach to return we feel is the best option. If everyone does as asked we should be able to get back to regular play sooner rather than later."
CBC News contacted local hockey associations but they said they wanted to review the guidelines before commenting.