‘Beer league’ hockey is ready to hit the ice again in the Lower Mainland, after two-and-a-half weeks on the bench.
The ASHL, Canada’s largest adult recreational hockey league, has announced that their fall season will continue, effective today, at their rinks in Burnaby (Scotia Barn), North Vancouver (Canlan North Shore), and Langley (Langley Twin Rinks).
Leagues like the ASHL stopped play in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions after new COVID-19 restrictions were announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry on November 7. But a recent update to the province-wide restrictions now allows games, competitions, and practices to continue, provided they are done without spectators or travel for teams “outside of their community.”
“Since bringing the game back this summer, Canlan Ice Sports and the ASHL have been vigilant about enacting new health and safety protocols to keep our participants safe on and off the ice,” the ASHL says on its website. “This requires teamwork, and we know you can be a great teammate and do your part.”
Recreational hockey looks a little bit different than it used to, with health check screening and hand sanitizing at the door, mask-wearing indoors when not on the ice, and plexiglass dividers for players on the benches. The ASHL has also modified the offside rule, aimed at reducing clustering on the ice.
Another change for ‘beer league’ hockey? The beer.
“Once your game is done… we strongly encourage you to say your goodbyes and head home,” says the ASHL. “The sooner we get through COVID-19, the sooner we can get back to enjoying post-game beverages.”
Social gatherings of any size, indoors or outdoors, are still not allowed with anyone other than your household or “core bubble.”