Return to Hockey | COVID-19 Response

Return to Hockey | COVID-19 Response

Thank you for visiting the Ontario Hockey Federation's website, on this page you will find current information on the OHF's Return to Hockey as it becomes available.

OHF Return to Hockey Framework

Hockey Canada has released the following Statement on Return to Hockey in Canada
June 4

CALGARY, Alta. – The following is a statement on behalf of Hockey Canada from Tom Renney, chief executive officer, and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer, on the return-to-hockey process in Canada.

“On March 12, the decision was made to cancel all Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities across the country. This was a difficult decision, but one made to maintain the health and safety of all participants and the general public amid growing concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Currently there are no Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities being conducted, and we are working with our Members on their return-to-hockey plans. After ongoing discussions with the board of directors, our chief medical officer, the 13 Members and public health authorities across the country, it has been determined that the best approach for a return to hockey in Canada is to allow each Member the opportunity to work with authorities in their respective regions to determine when it is safe to return to the ice in areas that fall under their jurisdiction. We expect the timing of each Member’s return to hockey will be different, but will be based on the advice of their government and public health authority.

It is imperative to note that we are not ready to return to the game across the country. As we have seen in respect to flattening the curve, the impact of the pandemic varies from region to region. Permitting our Members the opportunity to decide on an appropriate return-to-hockey timeline will allow them to work directly with public health authorities to determine when it is safe to return while also implementing specific safety measures and rules within their associations and leagues.

Hockey Canada knows the game will look quite different, and the return will happen at different speeds and at different times across the country. Be assured, we continue to work on our multi-faceted return-to-hockey plan that includes health and safety regulations, communications and seasonal structure. As with so many people across the country, we look forward to returning to the game when it is safe to do so, and we will support our 13 Members as we continue to work towards getting back on the ice.”

For more information on the Return to Hockey plan, please visit

Safety and Protocols for a Return to Hockey
June 4, 2020

Clearly-defined guidelines will help ensure the safety and well-being of all participants

Our day-to-day routine has been altered by COVID-19, and hockey has not been immune. Hockey Canada is committed to providing Return to Hockey resources to ensure Canadians in every province and territory are prepared to get back on the ice as quickly and safely as possible.

The Safety Guidelines will take hockey associations and leagues through how to prepare for a return to hockey, hygiene, return-to-play protocols and the use of facilities. With the depth of resources comes responsibility, and it is very important for Members, hockey associations, leagues and teams to appoint someone to oversee health and safety protocols.

Hockey Canada's Return to Hockey Safety Guidelines

Hockey Canada's Safety and Protocols for Return to Hockey - FAQs

OHF Return to Hockey Framework
June 10, 2020

The Ontario Hockey Federation Board of Directors has approved the OHF Return to Hockey Framework and specifically the implementation of Phase 2 - Stage 1, following Hockey Canada’s Return to Hockey’s Board of Directors decision last week.

Over the past three months, the OHF and its Member Partners have worked in conjunction with guidance from Public Health, the Government of Ontario and Hockey Canada to develop Return to Hockey Framework that will promote the health and safety of all stakeholders in the game. It is important to keep in mind that as both the environment and Emergency Order evolve within the province, so will the framework detailed in the document.

Within the Return to Hockey Framework, the OHF has provided a detailed Phased approach to reintroduce hockey activities across our provincial jurisdictions. The safety of all participants and stakeholders will continue to be the priority, while balancing the needs of individuals within the game. This staged approach does not have a specific timeframe, but will evolve at the guidance of public health, the provincial government and our governing body, Hockey Canada. At any point during the progression we may need to pause or return to a previous stage in order to protect and support our participants and the public. Currently there is no programming approved to be run anywhere in Ontario.

The OHF’s Return to Hockey plan can be found here: OHF Return to Hockey Framework

In addition, the OHF Board of Directors has also approved the OHF Hockey Canada Licensed Skill Development Program Policy to certify Hockey Canada Licensed Development Specialists (HCLDS). HCLDS will be certified by the OHF to perform hockey activities within the province of Ontario. According to the Ontario government’s Emergency Order, the opening and controlled use of sporting facilities, can be done so by a national sport organization funded by sport Canada or a member club of such an organization, a provincial sport or multi-sport organization recognized by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries or a member club of such an organization or a professional sport league or a member of such a league.* By providing a certification to become a HCLDS this will allow for such instructors wishing to operate hockey activities within the province of Ontario the opportunity to do so, while guaranteeing that programming is both in line with Hockey Canada’s Safety Guidelines and the Ontario governments Emergency Order for the safety of all participants involved.

A number of benefits are associated with becoming a Hockey Canada Licensed Development Specialist including:

  • Full Hockey Canada / Member Insurance coverage
  • Endorsement through the OHF and its Members
  • Opportunity to attend National / Member training and certification
  • Opportunity to deliver Hockey Canada and Branch approved programming
  • Opportunity for Pro D webinars throughout the hockey season
  • Hockey Canada / Member promotion on website under certified / licensed programs to MHA’s / Parents / Players
  • Opportunity to be a Development Specialist at Member / Hockey Canada High Performance programs
  • Opportunities to attend Hockey Canada / Member Professional Development Workshops
  • Ability to market themselves to Minor Hockey Associations / Coaches / Players in conjunction with Members and Hockey Canada
  • Use of specific certified / licensed logo

The OHF will be hosting its first virtual training session starting the week of June 22. Information on the program and where to register, can be found here: OHF Hockey Canada Licensed Skill Development Program

We support the Province’s encouragement for the public to continue to adhere to public health measures, including practising physical distancing or wearing a face covering when physical distancing is difficult or not possible and regular hand washing and staying home when ill.

*This has now been amended. Please refer to the news release from the Ontario Government for information on the regulation change. 

OHF Return to Hockey Framework - Stage Two Explained
June 18, 2020

The Ontario Hockey Federation has provided further explanation to the operation of hockey activities within Stage Two of the OHF Return to Hockey Framework. Please click here and view Section 11: Appendix C for further details. 

In collaboration with our Members, the OHF has created a FAQ document to address many of the questions that are not answered in Section 11: Appendix C. This document will be updated frequently to provide answers as needed: OHF Return to Hockey Framework - FAQs 

Ontario's Return to Hockey
June 27, 2020

Since the release of its Return to Hockey Framework on June 10, Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO), Hockey Northwestern Ontario (HNO), the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association (OWHA), the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) and its Members have worked in conjunction with Ontario’s Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Cultural Industries to get our players back on the ice safely in Ontario. Requirements that have been put in place to date ensure a safe return to the game, compliance with all Ontario laws, insurance coverage for players and facilities and validation that individuals operating on ice met all OHF and Hockey Canada standards.

Now, Ontario has removed certain restrictions for Stage 2 indoor sports and recreational fitness activities facilities.

Ontario’s Provincial Sport Organizations (PSO) for ice sports, including the OHF, HEO, HNO, the OWHA, Ringette Ontario, Ontario Speed Skating and Skate Ontario, have pooled our expertise and worked together to provide return to sport framework that will keep all who attend the shared facilities safe during this unprecedented time. We call on all facilities and operators who are outside the PSO framework to continue to rely on our guidance materials for the safety and wellbeing of our kids and adult sport participants.

The OHF’s Return to Hockey Framework is available and will be updated once details from the government have been provided. Further details will be provided by the government in the coming days. 

A safe return for participants has and will continue to be our focus on returning hockey back into Ontario. As the clear industry leaders for traditional programming, we are committed to providing a certification standard to non-traditional programming operators through the OHF Hockey Canada License Skill Development Program. This program will ensure to participants that individuals operating their program have the training to provide a safe return to the game, that OHF and Hockey Canada safety guidelines will be in place, that they are compliant with all Ontario laws and that they will be provided full coverage through Hockey Canada insurance.

Impact Ontario's Amendment to the Emergency Order has on Facilities and Municipalities 
July 3, 2020

On June 26, 2020 the Ontario Government issued an amendment to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act as it pertains to the operation of indoor sports within the Province. Contrary to the procedures outlined in the previous act, Ontario has removed certain restrictions for Stage 2 indoor sports and recreational fitness activities facilities. 

This means that facilities are now given the opportunity to be used by more businesses and organization to train amateur athletes and run certain non-contact amateur athletic competitions. The responsibility to validate the programming on the ice, that in all cases operateactivities in a way that meets public health requirements, has transferred from the OHF to the facilities. 

As such, facilities no longer require the OHF Certificate of Validation or Certificate of Insurance from an individual looking to book ice to be compliant with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The facility must validate that the individual meets the standard they have implemented to comply with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.  

However, a safe return for participants has and will continue to be our focus on returning hockey back into Ontario. For that reason, the OHF will continue to certify individuals through the OHF Hockey Canada LicenseSkill Development Program. Additionally, the OHF will continue to issue its Certificate of Validation and Certificate of Insurance. These documents will allow facilities to easily identifyand be confident, that programs operating at their facilities comply with Hockey Canada’s standards and are backed by the Hockey Canada Insurance Program. Facilities can rest easy knowing that program leaders with the OHF Certificate of Validation have the training to provide a safe return to the game, while complying with the OHF and Hockey Canada safety guidelines. 

NOTE: The above reference to non-contact refers to maintaining physical distance of 2M and does not mean hockey competition can occur in the absence of body contact/body checking.