Planning a safe return to hockey

Hockey Canada and its Members have worked diligently on a Return to Hockey plan based on direction from governments and public health authorities. As provinces and territories begin to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Hockey Canada has prepared a number of resources to support and inform administrators, players, parents, coaches, safety people/trainers, officials and volunteers on how to navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19.

All administrators are encouraged to visit the Hockey Canada website and Member websites that are dedicated to providing Hockey Canada membership with the most up-to-date and important information concerning the safety protocols for Return to Hockey.

In addition to resources developed to support Members, hockey associations and leagues to prepare for a safe Return to Hockey, Hockey Canada has developed an online course to ensure hockey administrators have as much information as possible to prepare. For the 2020-21 hockey season, One member of each team is required to complete the Hockey University: Planning a Safe Return to Hockey course; but we encourage all volunteers to complete the training.

The program looks at some key information our membership needs to know to help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the hockey environment. Throughout this module we will refer to detailed information on specific prevention topics and encourage all to become familiar with the Public Health Authority guidelines and restrictions and the Hockey Canada Safety Guidelines.

To register for this free online course, click the link below. There is no charge for Hockey Canada registered hockey volunteers to access the Hockey University course.

HNB’s 2019-2020 Volunteer of the Year Award

Established in 1995 to recognize an active volunteer in the hockey community. This award is presented to a volunteer who makes outstanding contributions to the game.

“She’s a quiet person but she does so much,” says Lisa McLaughlin, president of the Tri-County Minor Hockey Association. “She does so much that people don’t even realize how much she’s doing. Her mind is always thinking ‘How can we do things better, how can we be more organized, what can we do to improve this?’ She is just so valuable.

Noble has been the secretary/registrar for the TMHA for more than six years. A friend knew she had done some secretarial work and asked her to come to a meeting to take notes. That eventually led to an invitation to take on the volunteer position full time.

Her fellow board members have crowned her the queen of spreadsheets and organization. She rosters more than 150 players and more than 50 coaches each season. She touches base weekly with those needing courses, criminal checks and certifications. She takes detailed notes at every meeting. She ensures all coaches have their necessary credentials and the MHA is compliant in everything it does.

A visual learner, Noble took it upon herself to create step-by-step instructions to walk new hockey parents through the Respect in Sport process. “They’re new to the sport, and it can be overwhelming for them,” she says. “[I wanted to] give them something that’s going to make their lives easier.”

At Noble’s suggestion, the TMHA created a new policy – parents would get their Respect in Sport documents at registration and need to complete the course before their kids could hit the ice instead of by the standard Dec. 15 deadline. “It’s streamlined the process immensely for our association,” says McLaughlin. “The document she created was sent out to the other associations in our district as a good way to deal with the Respect in Sport hurdle that comes up for associations.”

As methodical as Noble is, she is equally creative. Take last season’s end-of-year banquet; When Noble arrived to decorate, she brought with her 10 homemade poster boards – one for each team in the TMHA. Each poster board included a cut-out jersey for every team member, complete with the player’s name and number on the back.

While the hockey season has been cut unexpectedly short, Noble’s line remains open. She continues to assist parents and anyone else who reaches out with questions, as well as handle her regular responsibilities with the TMHA. She is proud to be a member of what she considers a great team.

Hockey New Brunswick is proud to present the 2019-2020 Volunteer of the Year Award to Tanya Noble.

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Minor Hockey Association of the year

Riverview Minor Hockey Club

District Association/Community Club of the Year Award was established in 1992 to recognize a minor hockey association who exemplified the true spirit of minor hockey during the past season and encouraged their members to participate under the Fair Play Values.

Riverview Minor Hockey Club had several initiatives to benefit all aspects of the association. New cross- ice hockey equipment was purchased to outfit both arenas for small area games. The Club also coordinated weekly skills sessions that worked to dedicate an hour a week at various levels to player development. These sessions included goaltender clinics, power skating sessions, defence clinics and skill assessment sessions for Ip, Novice and Atom. Riverview also put a focus on referee training as they partnered with Team Stripes to offer customized online training program, video and testing for officials.

The RMHC and the Town of Riverview worked together to renovate and rebrand a meeting room as “The Blues Room”. The room can be configured as a board room, classroom, monthly meetings, team gatherings and clinics.

The Riverview Minor Hockey club celebrated many of their alumni this year as:

  • Former RMHC Player and official, Harrison O’Pray began officiating in the QMJHL.
  • Timbit Program began 30 years ago, 1st ever team was honoured by the Moncton Wildcats
  • Two former RMHC players, Evan Nause and Dyllan Gill selected in the 1st Round of the QMJHL Draft
  • Riverview Minor Hockey Club also wanted to celebrate Rob McClure, who was a great asset to the association and passed away this past year. Rob was a former player and long-time volunteer within the club. He served as Technical Director and president on past committees. In his memory, a scholarship has been created for a graduate of Riverview High School.

Congratulations to Riverview Minor Hockey Club, the 2019-2020 HNB Community Club of the Year!

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J. Charles Daigle Award

Established in 1976 in memory of the late Charles Daigle to recognize individuals at the executive level. This award is presented annually to an individual to be recognized at the executive level.

Anyone involved in hockey in the North-West is familiar with the name Jack Lebel. For many years, Jack has been scheduling, supervising, and coaching referees in the region. Jack was playing more of a behind the scenes role and he was a strong supporter and helper for the various referees in chief. When the position became vacant in the spring of 2018, he accepted to fill the vacancy to complete the term. He must have liked it because when the position was up for election for a 2-year term, he accepted to re-offer and was elected.

Jack starts the season before everyone by recruiting and promotion for referees. He then coordinates the certification and re-certification for the referees at various levels. This season, he had 84 referees to cover over an estimated 1,200 games, including minor, senior, elite and high school. He recruited 22 new referees, had 31 regular officials and 31 senior officials. He has helped young officials get level 5 certification in past few seasons.

He is even more active once the season starts- coordinating with the various associations, rinks and team officials, tracking and ensuring appropriate referees are available while also coordinating with Quebec and District 2 referee in chief for senior league games. He not only ensures availability of officials for games, but also for the many tournaments in the region. When games get cancelled, he is quick to get a hold of his referees, to avoid unnecessary trips. He manages in a way to be the most cost effective for minor hockey association, opting for local referees as much as possible, and when travel is required, he mandates car pooling to save cost.

When he is short on officials, Jack suits-up his referee uniform and hits the ice to make sure hockey gets played. If anyone is looking for Jack, they only need to head to a rink to find him. His calm nature, logical thinking for alternatives have garnered the respect of many referees. His dedication has helped with referee retention because they know they have the support and leadership they need to do their job.

For the work he has done over the years, especially the last few seasons, we are very proud to present the J. Charles Daigle award to Jack Lebel!

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Vance Toner Development Award

Established in 1995, the Vance Toner Development Award is presented annually to an individual who has distinguished themselves by their excellent qualities as a teacher, coach and administrator, not only in their own community, but across the province.

Jean-Guy Robichaud is from Shippagan and has lived in Caraquet with his wife Gemma for several years. They raised 4 children and have 2 grandchildren. Mr. Robichaud has been active in the hockey in New Brunswick since the 1960s at all levels; whether as a coach, manager, league president, hockey school, sports manager, consultant, recruiter / scout for different teams; he covered all the necessary bases to carry out the plan.

In its infancy, hockey in NB was administered by the Maritime Hockey Association which included PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The MHA was officially admitted to the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) in 1928 and continued like this for about 40 years.

In May 1967, Vance Toner of Moncton called a meeting for interested hockey enthusiasts, which was held in Memramcook. Jean-Guy Robichaud was a member of this committee from the start! Two other meetings were held in St. Andrews and Lancaster to further develop a branch in New Brunswick.

As a result of this momentum, at the annual meeting of the Maritime Amateur Hockey Association, New Brunswick received the blessing of the MHA to ask CAHA for official recognition as a separate branch. Consequently, in 1968, the New Brunswick Amateur Hockey Association (NBAHA) was formed and, at the national meeting in Windsor, Ontario, was formally admitted to the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association as a full member with all rights and privileges.

Mr. Robichaud was the spokesperson for hockey on the Acadian Peninsula from the beginning. He led a group of individuals who founded the minor hockey association in Caraquet in 1968, then in Shippagan, Tracadie, Lamèque and Bathurst.

Jean-Guy also worked on Vance Toner's study on hockey in New Brunswick. He was also very involved with the establishment of the hockey school at the University of Moncton. They created numerous development opportunities in rural areas, by providing hockey camps.

He is one of the few Canadians to have studied hockey in Russia in the 1970s after the Summit series. Jean-Guy made contacts with various players in the hockey world to ensure that he had professional players present at the hockey schools in the Acadian Peninsula or at the Aigles Bleus at the Université de Moncton, where he also helped with the development of their hockey team.

His career choice as a teacher was reflected in his passion for teaching all aspects of hockey. Jean-Guy has allowed many hockey players to develop their hockey skills with his many tips.

When asked why he devoted his life to the sport of hockey, he stated: " It is an obvious fact that the creation of the New Brunswick Amateur Hockey Association has become the gateway to various national programs”.

We are very proud to present the 2019-2020 Vance Toner Development award to Jean-Guy Robichaud.

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Female Breakthrough award

The Hockey New Brunswick Female Breakthrough award was established in 2004 to recognize an individual who has actively participated in the promotion of female hockey in New Brunswick during the current season.

Neal Dunn has been involved in hockey for many years in the Miramichi region and in 2018 he was elected the President of the Greater Miramichi Female Hockey Association. This past season, with Neal’s leadership the Association grew from having one Atom team and one Peewee team to having one Atom team, two Peewee teams, and one Bantam team.

Neal was also instrumental in assisting with the implementation of the Female Provincial League which operated during the 2019-20 season. Neal also serves as the ROC Female Representative for Region 6 where he consults with his ROC as well as the Female Commission on a regular basis on many female Hockey initiatives.

Neal has a great passion for promoting females in sport and is always looking for new ways to get more girls involved in the game of hockey. Just this past season he played a key role in creating an all-girls hockey day at the Tom Donovan Arena in Renous. This day had female teams from all over the province showcase their skills in a fun-filled day for the girls.

Neal and his wife Sheri were also very involved in Kraft Hockeyville in Renous, which was a huge accomplishment in New Brunswick. Both he and Sheri love to watch their daughter play hockey as well as other sports and when you ask Neal why he is so devoted to female hockey his answer is: “Female hockey has done so much for my daughter Marty, I just want to give back.”

We are proud to present this year’s Female Breakthrough award to Neal Dunn!

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