“They still have to show up with masks on,” Schell said.
Anyone entering the rink is also asked a list of questions on if they have displayed any COVID-19 symptoms or been around anyone who has tested positive.
The locker rooms at the IceForum have been tweaked to become safer with marked off spots six to seven feet away from other players to dress. There are hand sanitizing stations in the middle of every locker room which players are encouraged to use frequently. Players aren’t allowed to shower in the facility, either. Some kids are coming into the rink half-dressed so they don’t have to use a locker room.
“They come in, sit down on their X and get ready. We tell them when it’s good to come out, they come out,” Schell said. “They come off and get undressed and they’re out the door. We don’t want them lingering too much. We ask them that they wear masks on the way in, on the way out and basically every second they don’t have their hockey helmet on.”
As for on-ice safety, the TPH coaches run high-tempo practices and skills drills so players aren’t waiting in line for too long. It’s as much constant motion for the players as possible.
Schnell, who was an Atlanta Thrashers draft pick in 2002 and played in the AHL, ECHL and Europe during his professional career, knows it’s baby steps every day to try to return to what hockey used to be like.
“We’ve got really good reviews on how we’ve come back and how we’re following the guidelines and all that kind of stuff,” Schell said. “It’s been good. We love having the boys on the ice. Seeing them get back on the ice with smiling faces, it makes our job as directors and staff to be on the ice, it makes it easy.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.