Many ice rinks have begun opening their doors for the first time since March and we’re all eager to get back on the ice, but it’s important to remember we’re still in a global pandemic. Coronavirus is not going to go away any time soon and although hockey is more low-risk than some other sports, it’s important to do what you can to keep yourself, your teammates, and your opponents safe. No one wants their season to be shut down because someone was being stupid. Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure you’re being safe on the ice. The biggest things to remember are to wash your hands, wear a mask, get tested (if you can) regularly, and keep your distance.
BRING YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLE!
This is honestly something you should do regardless of the pandemic, but especially now, don’t go drinking out of others’ water bottles and don’t let them drink out of yours. It’s best to fill it up at home too.
Don’t spit on the ice.
We all do it, but it’s gross. Stop it.
Wash your gear on a regular basis.
This is more of a hygiene thing than a COVID thing, but it can help to cut down on the germs in the locker room. Also, if you’re not already going this, that’s kind of gross.
Space out in the locker room and on the bench.
Especially in beer league games when you might only have two-three guys on the bench, try to put as much space between players as you can. This is another small change you can make to lessen the risk of playing hockey. Try to space out in the locker room as well.
Skip the post-game handshake.
We all love good sportsmanship, but shaking hands with a bunch of sweaty players after a game is just not a good idea right now. It’s not necessary, and you’re just exposing yourself to more people. Most players would should understand that. It’s best to just tap your stick or go through the handshake line with gloves on, if you insist.
Wear a mask in the rink and in the locker room.
Most rinks probably require you wear a mask when you enter and maybe even when you’re on the ice, but it’s best to keep it on in the locker room as well. Do your part to keep yourself and others safe. If everyone wears a mask and spaces out as much as you can in the locker room, you make hockey a low-risk activity, which is what we want if we want to keep playing.
Get a bubble.
They’re kinda sick, plus they offer more COVID protection than a cage or no face mask. Some rinks that require you to wear a mask on the ice, even with a cage, don’t make you wear a mask if you have a bubble. It’s an investment, but things don’t seem to be changing anytime soon.