Games are set to resume across the Island under Phase 4 of the return to hockey plan — but there are many changes.
Protocols like COVID-19 symptom screening and mask wearing under certain circumstances are in place. There will also be no fighting at any level. If you're a minor hockey fan, the rules are not universal. What goes on in the stands will depend on the rink. "Some rinks are starting to have their operational plans in place where fans are allowed in the rink," says Mike Hammill, president of Hockey P.E.I.
He said each facility must develop their own guidelines and operational plans.
"Hockey P.E.I. supports fans being in the rink. We believe they should be there," Hammill said.
"Coming up in the next week or two you'll see under seven, under nine age groups. So we absolutely want parents in the rink then… I think facilities are doing a good job working toward it, but there is still some work to do."
Facilities have a lot to think about in order to get some fans back to watching games.
There needs to be separate entrances and exits, and with the winter coming, that means making sure snow is cleared and heat isn't lost with more open doors than usual, said Valerie Vuillemot, executive director with Recreation P.E.I.
"There are a number of different things the facilities are trying to grapple with and trying to make it work so spectators can get in," she said. "Some cases it is probably going to work and some cases it just might not, just depending on the layout of the facility."
Vuillemot said there is also the added duty of figuring out how to sanitize and clean between cohorts of players and fans.
Varying rules at arenas means some fans may be in the stands at one area and stuck outside in their vehicles at another.
Vuillemot said the best thing to do is check in with specific rinks by calling or checking their social media pages.
If fans are allowed into an area, Hammill said they will have some rules to follow as well.
"All our spectators have to wear a mask, anybody that is attending a Hockey P.E.I. sanctioned event," he said.
Team cheering off limits
Players will also wear masks coming into the arena and in the dressing room — and coaches will wear them at all times. Team cheering is also off limits.
"We're very lucky to be having hockey on P.E.I. given what's happening in the rest of the county and we want to get the children in there playing," Hammill said. "I think everyone is doing the best they can."
Hammill said Hockey P.E.I. has hired Dr. Ron Whalen as a chief medical officer and he has been consulting and provided input on return to play plans.
"There are some exhibition games this weekend," he said.
"Toward the end of next week you'll see our leagues started at the higher levels and early November, the first week of November you'll see them other leagues get going."
More from CBC P.E.I.