As some leagues in North America are beginning training camps and looking to return to play in the coming weeks and months, one thing has become crystal clear.
The weakest link in Junior Hockey’s return to play is housing. Billet families who in the past were critical parts of a player and organizations success, are now perhaps the weakest link.
The NHL has proven that a bubble environment in a return to play can work. My team, Opole HK has shown on a much smaller scale that a quasi bubble type of environment can work.
What we have seen from the NCAA and other programs is that players and staff can not be exposed to the general public in close quarters without risk of infection. That is it. There is empirical evidence to this fact.
Junior Hockey can not enact a bubble environment in most cases that would rival that of the NHL. But they can enact a quasi bubble environment similar to the one we have put together in Opole Poland for 22 players.
It costs money for such an environment and it takes discipline to make it work, but it can work.
Parents don’t mind paying extra for it. The health and safety benefits far outweigh the additional expense and time spent managing the “bubble”.
Many will say “but we don’t have access to that kind of facility”. That is simply an excuse. There are plenty of facilities in nearly every city in North America that would allow for such an environment to be created.
In order to create such an environment a little out of the box thinking is needed. Traditional billeting has to be out the window for this season. There is simply too much risk of contact from too many people moving in and out of one home. Multiply that by twenty and you have the average billet family risk.
For those teams looking for a solution, I am happy to assist free of charge.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser