With many leagues in Canada experiencing temporary shut downs, and some States in the USA making it impossible for teams to continue to play without interruptions, more changes are on the way.
In Canada, the games, and rules of play have been changed in order to eliminate most of the direct contact. That seems to have had absolutely no effect on teams coming down with COVID.
In nearly every instance where teams have tested positive for COVID, it is because someone within the billet family system has been infected and come in contact with a player. That player then gives it to his teammates.
Contact, is not proving to be the COVID spreading risk that some people wanted to predict it was going to be.
Even in the United States, where COVID was transmitted during hockey “events” there has been no proof that on ice “contact” was the spreading incident. In fact it is more likely that simple spreading took place between players who were breathing on each other.
Those players once again having become infected in a “non bubble” housing environment.
While teams in the United States deal with State regulations, creating delays, cancellations and postponements, the same COVID infection issues are coming from outside the team environment.
Once again, teams are testing players who exhibit symptoms. Those symptoms when found to be positive for COVID are almost exclusively tied to “non bubble” player living environments.
Billet families simply have too much access to the general public that is effecting players ability to stay at lower levels of infection risk. No matter what the players do, or how hard they try to manage their environments, billet families can not take the same measures and it unrealistic to expect them to.
Billet parents have to work. Billet brother and sisters have to go to school. People have to grocery shop, and live their every day lives. Because of that, and the other people in society who refuse to respect boundaries and wear masks, infections keep coming.
I have repeatedly asked teams and league administrators, why they are not moving to a quasi player housing bubble environment? The answer usually is they cant afford it. When I do a little research on those locations and teams involved, its easy to see that it can be done in most cases and it can be done inexpensively.
With official news coming from the NCDC in the next day or so concerning details of their rumored move to a quasi bubble environment in Florida, they will likely show just how the rest of the leagues could manage this program.
Housing bubbles work. We have been doing it in Poland for more than three months now, playing regular, full contact, non restrictive hockey.
The only excuse for teams and leagues not taking this approach is a lack of creativity and effort.
While more and more changes are coming in the United States and Canada, and you continue to juggle your career and waiting for your season to get up to speed, you need to ask your team why they aren’t changing the housing environment?
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser