Friday, December 4, 2020 – The GTHL Board of Directors announced today that it will permit teams and organizations to return to on and off ice activities once the region in which each team/organization operates (i.e. Peel, Toronto or York) enters the Ontario Government’s Orange “Restrict” level in its COVID-19 response framework. No organization will be required to begin activity at any time.
On October 4, 2020, the GTHL announced the postponement of the 2020-21 season until at least January 1, 2021 in response to the rapid rise in COVID cases in the GTA. Today’s decision comes as the cases of the virus in the GTA remain high. Currently, Mississauga and Toronto are in the Grey “Lockdown” level and York Region is in the Red “Control” level as outlined by the Province’s public health measures.
In reaching this decision, the GTHL Board had four objectives in mind:
- providing certainty for Members where possible;
- mitigating COVID-19 risk for families and the community;
- supporting the physical and mental well-being of players; and
- acting in the best interests of the GTHL and hockey in the GTA.
When permitted, resuming operations under the Orange “Restrict” level will permit GTHL teams and organizations to open in Period 2 of the GTHL Game Plan document.
The GTHL is mindful that the window to operate meaningful programs is closing and will be revisiting the current circumstances on January 4, 2021 to determine if a final date should be established as to when programming must commence before the balance of the 2020-21 season would regrettably have to be cancelled. That date may be impacted by dates established by the Ontario Hockey Federation for tryouts for the 2021-22 season.
In coming to this decision, the Board weighed many considerations, including the desire of some GTHL organizations to open programming as soon as possible while others are considering not operating this season; the desire and need for players to resume physical activity, especially hockey; the fact that facilities and resources operated by municipalities are finite and may be required to support other initiatives during the final stages of the pandemic; and the financial challenges GTHL organizations face in operating hockey programs with a limited number of participants.
The GTHL Board will continue to regularly consult with health experts from Toronto Public Health and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto as the situation develops.
The GTHL encourages players, families, teams and organizations to find ways to stay active and support the community. Regular exercise, volunteering and acts of kindness are proven to assist in improving mental health in people of all ages.
The GTHL Board is optimistic about recent news on vaccines and the Prime Minister’s comments that vaccines will be available to most Canadians by September of 2021. This provides hope for the full resumption of activities by the GTHL and its Member organizations for the 2021-22 season.
About the Greater Toronto Hockey League
Founded in 1911, the GTHL is a non-profit organization and the largest minor hockey league in the world. The GTHL registers more than 40,000 annual participants in Mississauga, Toronto, Markham and Vaughan. The purpose of the GTHL is to govern organized hockey for youth within its jurisdiction and to foster the development of good character, citizenship and sportsmanship.